Pope Francis has refused Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s offer to resign over the sexual abuse crisis, saying although the German prelate had been courageous in taking responsibility for past scandals, he should stay in office. Source: The Tablet.
Cardinal Marx has not been accused personally of mishandling cases but in a decision that sent shockwaves across the Church, he submitted his resignation to the Pope over institutional failings. The 67-year-old cardinal, who is eight years off retirement age, set out his reasons for stepping down in a letter on May 21.
In his response, Francis agreed with the cardinal that the abuse crisis has been a “catastrophe” and that “each Bishop of the Church must take it up and ask himself what should I do in the face of this catastrophe?” This includes, the Pope said, making a “‘mea culpa’ in the face of the many historical errors of the past … and before the many situations, even if we have not personally participated in that historical situation.”
The Pope praised Cardinal Marx’s offer to step down which he says displays a “Christian courage that does not fear the cross” and that reform in the face of the abuse crisis cannot consist merely of “words” but putting one’s life on the line. Jesus’ reform, Francis pointed out, is not contained in a particular religious project but is witnessed to “with his flesh on the cross”. Francis went on: “And this is the path, the one that you yourself, dear brother, assume when you present your resignation.”
Nevertheless, the Pope said he would not accept Cardinal Marx’s offer.
“That is my answer, dear brother. Continue as you suggest, but as Archbishop of Munich.”
Pope Francis rejects Cardinal Marx resignation (The Tablet)