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Top German Catholic Church official presents resignation over ‘disaster of sexual abuse’

“In essence, it is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx wrote to Pope Francis in a letter despatched on May 21 that was printed Friday.

“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.

Pope Francis has not but accepted Marx’s resignation, and the Archbishop has been informed to stay in publish till a choice is made, an announcement from the Archdiocese in Munich stated. It additionally famous that Marx has “repeatedly considered resigning from office in recent months.” Marx informed journalists on Friday that “the Pope himself wanted to see my letter published.”

“It is painful for me to witness the severe damage to the bishops’ reputation in the ecclesiastical and secular perception which may even be at its lowest,” Marx wrote within the letter. “I feel that through remaining silent, neglecting to act and over-focusing on the reputation of the Church I have made myself personally guilty and responsible.”

In 2018, a report from Germany’s Catholic Church admitted to “at least” 3,677 circumstances of kid intercourse abuse by the clergy between 1946 and 2014, native media reported on the time. The report, which took 4 years to assemble, discovered the victims have been principally boys, greater than half of whom have been aged 13 or youthful. Every sixth case concerned a rape and at the least 1,670 clergy have been concerned.

Marx cited that report in his resignation letter, noting that after it was printed, he publicly acknowledged that “we have failed.”

“But who is this ‘We’?” he wrote. “I also belong to this circle. And this means that I must also draw personal consequences from this.”

“I believe one possibility to express this willingness to take over responsibility is my resignation,” he added, noting that he hoped his actions could possibly be a “signal for a new beginning, for a new awakening” of the Church.

Marx’s resignation comes amid a rising uproar amongst German Catholics over the abuse and a gentle decline in church membership.
Last week, the Pope despatched two senior overseas bishops to analyze the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany’s largest, over its dealing with of abuse circumstances, Reuters reported.

“I will face possible mistakes and failure in individual cases to be investigated in detail which were committed during my terms of office and which will then have to be reviewed and evaluated pursuant to objective criteria,” Marx wrote in his letter.

A report on abuse within the cardinal’s Munich diocese is due later this yr.

Earlier this week, the Pope issued probably the most in depth revision to Catholic Church legislation in 4 many years, insisting that bishops take motion towards clerics who abuse minors and weak adults, commit fraud or try and ordain ladies, Reuters reported.

At a Vatican summit in February 2019, Marx admitted that paperwork that would have contained proof of clergy sexual abuse within the Catholic Church have been destroyed or by no means drawn up.

Germany's Catholic Church 'dismayed and ashamed' by child sex abuse

“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed or not even created,” Marx stated on the summit.

“The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution offenses were deliberately not complied with … such standard practices will make it clear that it is not transparency which damages the church, but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency, or the ensuing coverup.”

At a later press convention throughout the summit, Marx stated that the details about destroying information got here from a research commissioned by German bishops in 2014. The research was “scientific” and didn’t identify the actual church leaders or dioceses in Germany that destroyed the information.

In April of this yr, Marx informed German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier that he wouldn’t be comfy accepting the “federal cross of merit” — the very best state tribute for particular person providers to the nation — since survivors of abuse would have discovered it offensive.

“It is my great request to you not to carry out the award,” he stated. “I am convinced that this is the right step with consideration for those who obviously offended by the award, and especially with consideration for those affected.”

Approximately 27% of Germany’s inhabitants is Catholic, based on 2019 authorities figures. Catholics nevertheless, have been leaving the church in regular droves over the past 60 years, with the proportion of the Catholic inhabitants dropping from 45.9% to 27.2% between 1956 and 2019.

Top Catholic cardinal admits church destroyed documents on clergy sexual abuse

Marx, born in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia area in 1953, turned a priest in 1979 and a bishop in 1996.

In 2007, he was elevated to Archbishop of Munich and Friesing by Pope Benedict XVI, who as soon as additionally held that place. In 2013, he was appointed to the Council of Cardinals, a gaggle of 9 Cardinals who advise the Pope.

He additionally served as the top of the German Bishops’ Conference — the governing physique of the nation’s Catholic Church — till final yr, when he declined to run for a second time period, saying “I think it should be the turn of the younger generation and perhaps it is good if this role changes hands more frequently in future.”

The 67-year-old cardinal has additionally been a driving drive in efforts to modernize the Church in Germany, talking on the position of ladies within the clergy, celibacy, intercourse and id.
In 2011, he spoke out towards the Church’s rhetoric towards LGBTQ+ folks, saying that the Church had “not always adopted the right tone.” In 2014, he advised that Church doctrine on household points was not totally shaped.

On Friday, Marx stated that the Church should “learn from the crisis” of intercourse abuse, saying: “We are not yet at the end of the road.”

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