(CNN) – The leader of the Catholic Church in Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, wrote to Pope Francis asking him to accept his resignation as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, citing his “shared responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse” by Catholic Church officials. Message posted on Friday.
“It is important for me to share responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse by church officials over the past decades,” Marx wrote to the Pope in a letter sent on May 21.
He added, “Investigations and reports over the past ten years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures and management errors, but there are also institutional or ‘systematic’ failures.”
According to a statement from the Diocese of Munich, Pope Francis told Cardinal Marx that he must continue to exercise his episcopal service until a decision is made.
The statement also notes that Marx had “repeatedly thought about resigning in recent months.”
“It is painful to me to witness the grave damage done to the reputation of bishops in the ecclesiastical and secular perception that it may be at an all-time low,” said Marx.
“I feel that by staying silent, ignoring work and focusing so much on the church’s reputation, I have personally made myself guilty and responsible,” he added.
Speaking at the historic Vatican Summit in February 2019, Marx admitted that documents that could have contained evidence of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church had been destroyed or not redacted.
“Archives that could have documented the horrific events and named those responsible were destroyed or not created,” Marx said.
He added, “The procedures and processes set out in prosecuting crimes have not been intentionally adhered to…These standard practices will make clear that it is not transparency that is harmful to the church, but the abuse committed, the lack of transparency, or the resulting cover-up.” .
At a subsequent press conference during the summit, Marx said the information about the archives destruction came from a study conducted by German bishops in 2014. The study was “scientific” and did not name leaders of a particular church or diocese. In Germany they destroyed the files.
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