Germany's head of Catholic Church publishes resignation letter, citing 'catastrophe of sexual abuse'

Reinhard Marx Germany Catholic Church
Posted at 9:20 AM, Jun 04, 2021

BERLIN — A leading German cardinal and confidante of Pope Francis has offered to resign over the church’s mishandling of clergy sexual abuse scandals and declared that the church had arrived at “a dead end.”

Cardinal Reinhard Marx published his resignation letter to the pope online Friday.

He wrote that he wants to take a share of responsibility for the “catastrophe of sexual abuse by office-holders of the church in the past decades.”

"The investigations and reports of the last ten years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or 'systemic' failure," the letter continued.

Marx also issued a challenge of sorts for his fellow bishops to use the abuse scandal as an opportunity to save and reform the church.

There was no immediate comment from the Vatican, where Marx sits on powerful financial and political bodies.

CNN reports that Pope Francis has not yet accepted Marx's letter of resignation and that the cardinal has been told to remain in his post until a decision has been made.

A 2018 report found that the Catholic Church in Germany admitted to "at least" 3,677 cases of child sex abuse by church officials between 1946 and 2014.

Just this week, the Vatican adopted new laws aimed at cutting down sex abuse by church officials. The new rules explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests and also address the sexual abuse by lay people working for the church.