Marx, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Munich and Freising, writes in his book Message to the Pope For him, this is mainly about taking shared responsibility.
The investigations of the past ten years have shown him that there are many personal failures and management errors, but there are also “institutional or systemic failures”.
He believes that recent discussions show that “some in the Church do not want to acknowledge the institution’s shared responsibility or guilt and thus stand above any dialogue about reform or renewal regarding the abuse scandal.”
With his resignation, the cardinal wants to show that “it is not the ministry at the fore but the gospel message.”
Reinhard Marx is one of Germany’s most famous bishops and is considered close to the Pope. Until 2020, he chaired the German Bishops’ Conference. His resignation shook the Catholic Church in the country.
– I am shocked. It’s the wrong person who goes to the Rheinische Post, says Thomas Sternberg, head of the German Catholic Central Committee.
“Ready to listen”
Sternberg also recalls that Marx donated most of his private fortune to a foundation for victims of church abuse.
Matthias Kach, a spokesperson for Ekiger Tech, a victims’ association, describes Marx as someone who “was willing to listen.”
– Marx realized that those who drove the wagon in the dirt were not the right people to pull it back, he told the KNA Catholic News Agency.
Marx’s resignation was sent on May 21, but posted online on June 4 after the Pope said the letter could be made public. Pope urges Marx to continue his work until a decision is made.
Facts: Abuse within the Church in Germany
In 2014, the German Bishops’ Conference appointed an investigation into the abuses. It was introduced in 2018 and showed that 4.4 percent of priests who were on duty in the years 1946 to 2014 had committed sexual assaults. Six out of ten were never punished and most were simply transferred to a new congregation that did not know anything about the priest’s background.
3,677 victims have been identified, but the death toll is probably high. The investigator criticized his denial of access to other Catholic institutions such as schools and orphanages.
Cardinal Marx, who then presided over the bishops’ conference, described the inquiry as a turning point for the Church.
In 2010, it was revealed that Jesuit priests at the Cansius-Kollegi School in Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s mistreated many school students.
In 2017, the church was shaken by information that more than 500 members of the Regensburger Domspatzen boys’ choir have been abused and sexually assaulted. The choir was led by George Ratzinger, brother of Pope Benedict, in 1964-1994.
Most recently, an investigation into sexual assault was presented in Cologne from 1975 to 2018, in which 314 victims were identified. The investigation also revealed that the bishop at the time had breached his duty no less than 24 times.