ROME— Germany’s most prominent Catholic leader, an adviser to Pope Francis, has offered his resignation to the pontiff in a lengthy letter, citing his personal role in the “catastrophe” of sexual abuse.
“I feel that through remaining silent, neglecting to act and over-focusing on the reputation of the Church I have made myself personally guilty and responsible,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx wrote to the pope in a letter published Friday.
Marx’s offer was unusually public and self-reflective, given the opaque manner in which Catholic prelates usually step down.
The Vatican has not said whether the pope will accept Marx’s resignation as archbishop of Munich and Freising. He has been asked by the pope to stay on the job until a decision has been made, Marx said in a separate statement.
Still, the offer by itself represents the most significant fallout to date from investigations of abuse within in the German Catholic Church.
Germany’s understanding of the scale of the problem grew in 2018, with a report, commissioned by the national bishops’ conference, documenting more than 3,600 cases of abuse by 1,600 members of the clergy over seven decades.
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