Top German church official’s resignation letter to Pope Francis was made public and cites the sexual abuse scandal as a catastrophe, SNAP responds.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany submitted his resignation to Pope Francis in May of this year; on June 4th, 2021, the details of his resignation letter were made public. In his letter, Marx stated, “ it was important to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by church officials over the past decades.”
Marx was elevated to Cardinal in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI and certainly was aware of the findings of a report issued by the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg, and Mannheim. In the statement, Germany’s Catholic Church admitted to ‘at least' 3,677 cases of child sex abuse by the clergy between 1946-2014. We believe this number is much higher.
Pope Francis does not have to accept Cardinal Marx’s resignation. We believe Pope Francis should relieve Cardinal Marx immediately of his title and position within the church. It seems that Cardinal Marx is using language in his letter that victims have seen far too many times. A language that minimizes the abuse to a ‘catastrophe or ‘mistakes.’
As head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, Pope Francis can make a significant statement by handing Marx his walking papers. We believe that would demonstrate responsibility instead of disregard and overlooking victims. German prelates, past and present, have known more about abuse cases and chose to do nothing; Cardinal Marx is no exception.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)