Archbishop of Munich Says “The Catholic Church Must Renew” | News | DW


The Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has said he accepts responsibility for his role in a documented history of sexual abuse in the diocese of Munich and Freising in the southern state of Bavaria. Germany.

While speaking at the Catholic Academy in Munich on Thursday, Marx repeatedly acknowledged that he had not personally done enough to help the victims, saying: “It is unforgivable. We weren’t really interested in their suffering. had to do with systemic issues, at the same time, as Archbishop, I bear moral responsibility.”

The cardinal again asked for forgiveness from the victims, “in person and in the name of the diocese”. Moreover, he appealed to Catholics: “who doubt the Church, who can no longer trust those in authority and whose faith has been damaged. For too long we have not had enough emphasized and involved the parishes where the perpetrators were stationed”.

Only a “renewed Church” has a future in Germany

Marx stressed the urgency of dealing with the issue in stark terms: “There is no future for Christianity in our country without a renewed Church. For me, the reassessment of sexual abuse is part of a fundamental renewal.

The Munich religious leader’s words come just days after a damning report into the history of sexual abuse of children and minors in the diocese described crimes against at least 497 victims since 1945.

The report, prepared by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), says some 235 perpetrators were implicated in the crimes. Investigators believe the actual number of incidents of abuse is much higher.

“Anyone who still denies systemic causes, or disputes the need for reform of church positions and structures, has failed to understand the challenge before us,” Marx said in response to his findings.

Among those implicated in the report were several of Marx’s predecessors, the most famous being Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI.

After initially denying knowledge of four specific cases of abuse, the former pontiff recently offered a half-hearted admission acknowledging that he made “incorrect statements” during the WSW investigation, but not with “ill intent. “.

Marx on Thursday said: “Now we know enough to take a closer look and be able to act differently.”

Marx always ready to withdraw in theory

Marx, 68, who had previously offered his resignation, told those gathered in Munich: “My offer to resign last year was very serious. Pope Francis decided otherwise and called on me to continue to do my job responsibly”.

Marx, however, said he was always ready to step down if he proved “more of a hindrance than a help” in the future. “I’m not glued to my desk,” he said.

Last June, Marx delivered a letter of resignation to Pope Francis as a sign of his own responsibility in the matter. Francis rejected the letter, thanking Marx for showing “Christian courage which does not fear the cross, which does not fear being humbled before the formidable reality of sin.”

Recognizing that “the whole Church is in crisis over the issue of abuse,” the pontiff wrote, “the Church today cannot take a step forward without addressing this crisis. Addressing the crisis, personally and community, is the only fruitful way, because we do not come out of a crisis alone but in community.”

js/msh (dpa, epd, KNA)


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