German archbishop offers resignation over sexual abuse scandals

The Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, offered his resignation to Pope Francis over failure to deal with sexual abuse in Germany’s Catholic Church, according to a statement published by the archdiocese.

“In essence, it is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” the statement issued on Friday quoted Marx as saying in a letter dated May 21 to the Pope.

The investigations and expert reports of the past 10 years had consistently shown that there were “many personal failures and administrative mistakes,” but “also institutional or systemic failure”, the letter said.

According to the archdiocese’s statement, Pope Francis had asked that the German cardinal should continue to serve in his episcopal ministry until a decision was made, reports Xinhua news agency.

In April, Marx was to be awarded the Order of Merit of Germany but rejected the decoration after criticism from victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

An expert report on cases of sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising is expected to be published this year.

In March, an independent report commissioned by the Cologne archdiocese on sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church and the Church officials’ handling of those cases was published.

The investigation uncovered 314 victims of sexual violence, more than half of them under the age of 14, and 202 alleged perpetrators within the Church between 1975 and 2018, according to Bjoern Gercke, an attorney in criminal law from Cologne and co-author of the report.