At least for now, the cardinal plans to continue serving as archbishop, but is hoping to increase teamwork in leading the Church.
A week after the presentation of a report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx announced at a press conference in the Bavarian capital on January 27, 2022, that he had not again presented his resignation to Pope Francis.
He said that he would consider resigning if he no longer felt able to guide the diocese and that he was not “attached to his office.”
The German cardinal submitted his resignation to the Pontiff last June, acknowledging his personal errors in the management of abuse, and offering to take responsibility for what he considered “systemic errors.”
The 266th Pope declined the resignation at that time, asking him to continue serving the Catholic Church as Archbishop of Munich-Freising.
But, said the cardinal, “I don’t want to go it alone anymore.” The senior prelate emphasized at the press conference the need for shared responsibility in a more synodal Church.
Responding to questions from reporters, he called for “many more women in leadership positions in the Church.”
He asked that the Munich report be included in the process of reform of the Church, giving as an example once again the process of the Synodal Way opened in 2019 by the German bishops’ conference after the publication of a first report on abuse. “There is no future for Christianity in our country without a renewed Church!” he said.
Calling the treatment of abuse victims in his archdiocese “unforgivable,” Cardinal Marx said he was prepared to personally take responsibility for all the things the report accused him of, though he said he saw them primarily as “administrative and communication failures.” In one of the two cases he nevertheless reproaches himself for “not having really approached the persons concerned more ‘actively.'”
Commenting on the report as a whole, he lamented that “the Church [was] indeed a place of calamity rather than salvation for many people, a place of fear rather than comfort.” He declined to comment on cases involving his living predecessors, including Benedict XVI, saying he did not want to “speak for them.”
Not a plot against Benedict XVI
Responding to a journalist, he described as “absurd” the theories that the report represents a plot against the Pope Emeritus. He stressed that there was “no reason to doubt the seriousness” of the investigation and that Benedict XVI was “actively” participating in the process.
Cardinal Marx made few concrete announcements, except for the resignation of Father Lorenz Wolf, who was strongly criticized in the report. Without presenting specifics, he announced a program of reform in the archdiocese, the results of which he expects to present in a year.