Vatican City, Jun 10 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Thursday rejected Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s resignation, although the Pontiff said he appreciated the Cardinal’s gesture and admitted that “the whole Church is in crisis” because of the sexual abuse of minors.
The Archbishop of Munich and Freising tendered his resignation last week to take responsibility for the abuse of minors by members of the German Catholic Church.
Cardinal Marx, the former president of the German Bishops’ Conference who works closely with Francis as a member of the cardinal’s commission that advises the Pope, unleashed shockwaves within the Catholic Church when he submitted his resignation on Friday.
His decision was a “sign of the assumption of responsibilities” in the wake of a devastating report on child abuse and cover-ups between 1975 and 2018 by priests in the archdiocese of Cologne.
In tendering his resignation, Marx, considered one of the Church’s leading progressive figures, said the institution is at what he calls “an impasse.”
In a letter published on Thursday responding to the cardinal, Francis thanked Marx for his “Christian courage that does not fear the cross, that does not fear being humiliated before the tremendous reality of sin.”
While applauding his bravery, the Pope said the “whole Church is in crisis because of the (…) abuse issue,” adding that “the Church today cannot take a step forward without addressing this crisis.”
Pope Francis continued: “the politics of the ostrich leads nowhere, and the crisis must be addressed by our Paschal faith. (…) Taking up the crisis, personally and communally, is the only fruitful way, because we do not come out of a crisis alone but in community.”
The Pontiff said he agrees with Marx’s description of “the sad history of sexual abuse and the way the Church dealt with it until recently as a catastrophe.”
“To become aware of this hypocrisy in the way we live our faith is a grace, it is a first step we must take,” Francis wrote.