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Pope Francis

Citing ‘systemic failures’ in handling abuse, cardinal offers resignation

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, has submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, saying that bishops must begin to accept responsibility for the institutional failures of the church in handling the clerical sexual abuse crisis. The pope did not immediately accept the cardinal’s resignation. Cardinal Marx is pictured in a Feb. 12, 2015, file photo at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Cristian Gennari, KNA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, 67, has submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, saying that bishops must begin to accept responsibility for the institutional failures of the Church in handling the clerical sexual abuse crisis. Cardinal Marx released a statement June 4 and, with the pope’s permission, a copy of the letter dated May 21 in which he told the pope, “It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse perpetrated by representatives of the church over the past decades.” Pope Francis did not immediately accept the cardinal’s resignation. In his statement, the cardinal said Pope Francis asked him to continue his ministry as archbishop “until his decision is made.” In his letter to the pope, Cardinal Marx said that “the investigations and reports of the last 10 years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures and administrative mistakes” in handling abuse allegations, “but also institutional or ‘systemic’ failures.” But, he said, “some members of the Church refuse to believe that there is a shared responsibility in this respect and that the Church as an institution is hence also to be blamed for what has happened.”

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