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Prominent German Cardinal Offers to Resign Over Church Sexual Abuse

BERLIN — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a number one determine in Germany’s Roman Catholic Church, has supplied his resignation to Pope Francis as an act of personal accountability for sexual abuses by monks over the previous a long time, the archdiocese of Munich and Freising stated Friday.

In a letter despatched to the Vatican on May 21, the cardinal stated he believed Catholics had been at a “dead end” over the a long time of abuses which have come to gentle in Germany since 2002 and that the present state of affairs might solely be overcome by members of the Church taking accountability for the abuses and efforts to cover them up.

“I believe one possibility to express this willingness to take over responsibility is my resignation. In doing so, I may be able to send a personal signal for a new beginning, for a new awakening of the Church, not only in Germany,” the cardinal wrote in his letter, which was released by his archdiocese. “I would like to show that it is not the institution that stands in the foreground, but the mission of the Gospel.”

He added: “I therefore strongly request you to accept this resignation.”

Cardinal Marx’s archdiocese, which was as soon as led by Joseph Ratzinger, who turned Pope Benedict XVI, stated Francis had agreed to enable the cardinal to make the letter public however had requested that he proceed to perform his duties till he reached a choice. The Vatican had no additional touch upon Friday.

The cardinal’s supply to resign comes at a time when the pope is doubling down on his view that the sexual abuse disaster is primarily a consequence of imbalances in energy dynamics between clerics and different church leaders and people entrusted to their care, no matter their age.

On Tuesday, the Vatican introduced that Francis had made adjustments to the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law, the authorized framework for the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, after years of consultations.

As head of the German Bishops Conference, a put up he held from 2014 to 2020, Cardinal Marx led a push for wider dialogue about reforms throughout the Church, together with reconsidering points like obligatory celibacy for monks.

The cardinal harassed his view that sharing accountability for what he referred to as “the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over past decades” additionally meant a willingness to talk about “reforms and renewal in the context of the sexual abuse crisis.”

The cardinal is a very influential determine within the world church: He has served as a member of Francis’ small advisory council.

The sexual abuse disaster exploded in Germany in 2010, when former college students of a Berlin highschool, Canisius College, stated lecturers abused them within the Seventies and Eighties. The disaster deepened in 2016, after an investigator stated greater than 200 boys in a choir led by the brother of Benedict XVI had been abused over nearly 4 a long time.

Last week, the Vatican dispatched two senior bishops to the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany’s largest and one of the crucial highly effective within the world church, to examine the archbishop’s dealing with of allegations of sexual abuse of youngsters by the hands of monks going again to 1975.

Cologne’s archbishop, Rainer Maria Woelki, commissioned a lawyer to conduct an impartial overview of how the Catholic Church dealt with experiences of abuse, solely to shelve it over what he referred to as methodological shortcomings. A second report discovered a long time of “systematic cover-up” by the hands of church officers within the archdiocese, together with Stefan Hesse, who’s now the archbishop of Hamburg.

Archbishop Hesse supplied his resignation to the pope in March and has since been on go away from his duties.