Pope Francis Rejects German Bishop’s Offer To Quit Over Abuse

Pope Francis Rejects German Bishop’s Offer To Quit Over Abuse

Pope Francis on Thursday rejected an offer by top German bishop Reinhard Marx to resign over the huge child sex abuse scandal rocking the Church, urging the cardinal known for his reforms to stay and help shape change in the institution.

“Continue as you propose (in your pastoral work) but as Archbishop of Munich and Freising,” the pope wrote to Marx, referring to the position he was offering to vacate.

Marx voiced surprise at the swift reply from the pope and said he accepted the “great challenge” put to him.

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“This means that for me and our common work at the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, we’ll have to consider which new paths we can take, also in view of the history of the multitudes of failure,” Marx said in a statement.

He added that he will in the next weeks “reflect on how we can contribute even more to the renewal of the Church”.

Marx, who was never accused of abuse or of a cover-up, announced earlier this month that he had offered the pope his resignation over the church’s “institutional and systemic failure” in handling child sex abuse scandals.

The stunning decision came after the church in Germany, like in many places elsewhere, was shaken by allegations of wide-ranging abuse by clergymen against minors.

In his letter, the pope agreed with Marx in condemning the “catastrophe” of clerical sexual abuse scandals and the way the Catholic Church dealt with them “until recently”.

“The entire Church is in crisis because of the abuse issue” and “the Church cannot proceed without tackling this crisis”, the pope wrote in his native Spanish.

He added: “The ostrich policy (of burying one’s head in the sand) leads nowhere.”

The pope said the Catholic Church could not “live with the weight of having ‘skeletons in the closet’, as the saying goes,” and said it needed to confess to its sins and “ask for the grace of shame”.

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Holding up Marx as an example, Francis thanked the archbishop for his “Christian courage which does not fear the cross, which does not fear to be overwhelmed by the tremendous reality of sin”

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