Earlier today, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the top Catholic official in Germany, released a letter he sent to Pope Francis two weeks ago saying he wanted to resign as a way to symbolize taking responsibility for the Church’s child sex abuse problems.
“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” he said in a letter to Pope Francis.
He is the Archbishop of Munich. The Pope is still considering his offer.
In 2018, a study commissioned by the Church itself found that more than 3,600 children in Germany had been sexually assaulted by Roman Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014.
It’s an interesting gesture, but I would much rather see guilty priests in jail, not innocent priests symbolically out of a job. How would that change anything? How does that improve the Church? Who are the victims calling for this move? Who would celebrate his resignation? Plus, at age 67, Marx is only eight years away from the traditional bishop retirement age.
The Church is broken. Jumping off a sinking ship doesn’t change its fate. Ultimately, Marx’s move helps no one but himself since no one’s going to point to his stepping down as proof the Church has now fixed its problems. Unless Marx is taking thousands of followers out of the Church with him, or urging people to withhold contributions until more substantive action is taken on abuse, this is nothing more than an empty gesture even if the pope accepts it.
(Screenshot via YouTube)