Cardinal Reinhard Marx Explainer
While Cardinal Reinhard Marx has long been a mover and shaker in the Catholic Church both in Germany and at the universal level, his decision to offer his resignation as archbishop of Munich and Freising to Pope Francis on May 21 was completely unexpected. It hit the church in Germany and Rome like an earthquake when he made it known publicly on June 4.
“It was to a certain extent reminiscent of Benedict XVI’s decision to resign,” Hans Zollner, S.J., told America in an extended conversation at the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, of which he is president. The cardinal had only consulted a few people. The shockwaves from his resignation were felt in both the ecclesial and secular fields and caused a wide range of contrasting reactions and interpretations. Many were perplexed.