Pope Francis Rejects German Cardinal’s Offer to Resign

ROME — Pope Francis on Thursday rejected the resignation of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich, who had sought to depart his place final month in a gesture to take private accountability on behalf of your complete church hierarchy for many years of sexual abuse by monks and unaccountability by bishops.

In a heat letter written in his native Spanish and signed “with brotherly affection,” Francis advised the 67-year-old German, a number one liberal in Germany’s Roman Catholic Church and a member of the pope’s highly effective advisory council, that he ought to keep in his workplace and assist information the church by way of the shoals.

“I like the way you finish the letter,” Francis wrote, referring to Cardinal Marx’s request to proceed performing as a priest and a bishop and to act as a pastor in methods Francis thought of applicable.

“And this is my answer, dear brother,” Francis concluded. “Continue as you propose but as Archbishop of Munich and Freising.”

Francis added that if Cardinal Marx had been “tempted to think” that the pope “does not understand you,” he ought to keep in mind what Jesus advised his apostle Peter when he confessed to sin and provided his personal resignation: “Tend my sheep.”

Cardinal Marx has by no means been publicly accused of perpetrating or overlaying up abuse. He has endowed a basis aimed toward serving to abuse victims reconcile with the church, giving greater than $600,000 of his personal cash saved up over his many years as a priest.

He has additionally change into a number one liberal drive attempting to result in structural adjustments within the church on problems with celibacy and homosexuality, and to the precise structure governing the Vatican.

By affectionately telling him to keep on and praising the Cardinal’s “courage,” Francis on the very least didn’t undercut the German church’s willingness to rethink priestly celibacy, develop the position of girls within the church, and bless homosexual couples, all of that are vehemently opposed by conservatives.

Some Vatican watchers on Thursday had already begun to ponder whether the shortly tendered and rejected resignation had been choreographed to fortify Cardinal Marx’s place within the face of conservative headwinds within the Vatican or the United States, the place a lot of the conservative opposition to Francis’s imaginative and prescient is rooted.

A Roman cleric who usually speaks with Pope Francis insisted on Thursday that Cardinal Marx’s resignation had come as a shock to the pope, and stated that it was an expression of the German’s conscience.

Cardinal Marx’s position has given the German church vital affect within the Vatican, even because the church is hemorrhaging members in Germany, with greater than 270,000 folks leaving in 2019 alone.

In his authentic letter, which Cardinal Marx has stated he spent months reflecting on earlier than sending it to the Vatican on May 21, he wrote that “It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by church officials over the past decades.”

He added that he believed Catholics had been at a “dead end” when it comes to the disaster, and that he had remained troubled by a query he was requested as the pinnacle of the German Bishops’ Conference through the launch of a 2018 report that confirmed nearly three,700 kids had been abused over seven many years in Germany alone.

He was requested what number of bishops had resigned as a consequence of the abuse, and the reply was none. The Cardinal advised reporters this month that he had determined to lead by instance.

“I believe one possibility to express this willingness to take responsibility is my resignation,” the cardinal wrote in his letter, including, “I therefore strongly request you to accept this resignation.”

In rejecting the resignation, Francis added that he shared Cardinal Marx’s considerations. Silence and defending the establishment in any respect prices, he wrote, “leads to personal and historical failure, and brings us to live with the weight of ‘keeping skeletons in the cupboard,’ as the saying goes.”

Francis added that “I agree with you that this is a catastrophe: the sad history of sexual abuse and the way the Church approached it until recently.” He referred to as the attention of hypocrisy within the church a primary step towards taking “responsibility for this history, both as individuals and as a community.”

Francis made clear that the church may now not take a “head-in-sand policy.”