Title: Pope Francis rejects Cardinal Marx’s offer of resignation, calls on all bishops to take responsibility for the abuse crisis
Pope Francis has rejected Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s offer of resignation and told him to continue as archbishop of Munich and Freising and dedicate himself to pastoral care and the renewal of the church.
The Vatican announced this at midday, June 10, when it published the pope’s three-page letter to the German cardinal, written originally in Spanish, and translated into German. (The translation that follows here has been done by the author.)
Francis, who knows the 67-year-old cardinal well, took less than three weeks to reach his clear-cut decision. He provides a profoundly faith-filled rationale for his decision in the letter, which is a response to the May 21 letter of resignation presented to him by the cardinal when they met in the Vatican just over two weeks ago.
Francis, who knows the 67-year-old cardinal well, took less than three weeks to reach his clear-cut decision.
Significantly, however, Francis goes beyond responding to the cardinal’s reasons for offering his resignation and addresses in an incisive way the entire abuse crisis that has brought the Catholic church to its knees in Germany and many other countries. He agrees with Marx in calling it “a catastrophe,” and said “every bishop of the church must take it up and ask himself ‘what must I do in the face of this catastrophe?’”
Speaking as pastor of the whole church, he calls on every bishop, and the church as a community, to abandon “the politics of the ostrich,” and “the silences, the omissions, and giving too much weight to the prestige of the Institutions and denials,” which, he said, “only lead to personal and historical failure” and cause us “to live with the weight of keeping skeletons in the cupboard.”
He said, “It is urgent ‘to air’ this reality of the abuses and of how the church should proceed, and let the Spirit lead us to the desert of desolation, to the cross and the resurrection.” He insisted, “We must follow the path of the Spirit, and the point of departure is the humble confession: we have gone wrong, we have sinned.”
He asked every bishop and the church communities to open themselves to the Spirit and to take responsibility for “the many errors of the past and present,” make a “mea culpa” for them, and through confession, the admission of sin, and repentance, to seek to do reparation and in this way bring about the reform that leads to resurrection.
Speaking as pastor of the whole church, the pope calls on every bishop, and the church as a community, to abandon “the politics of the ostrich.”