Abuse Report: Cardinal Marx Calls for Church Reform – Politics


Munich Archbishop Cardinal Reinhard Marx has spoken out in favor of fundamental church reforms. “Anyone who still denies systemic causes and opposes a necessary reform of the church in attitudes and structures has not understood the challenge,” said Marx on Thursday in Munich. Marx commented a week after the presentation of the abuse report by the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. Marx said he was given responsibility in the report and was willing to take responsibility. He was “shocked and affected” by the suffering of those affected and the behavior of those responsible and apologized to those affected, parishes and believers. Marx initially did not want to submit a second resignation request to Pope Francis, but he also said: “I am not attached to my office.”

Marx speaks of “personal failure”

Marx said that for a long time he, too, had the institution in mind first and not the victims, also out of a clerical attitude. “I count that as a personal failure,” said Marx. “I’ve been a bishop for 25 years, I’m part of the system.” With this report, one has come a little closer to “the truth and the comprehensive perspective on the church,” said Marx. “We know enough now that we can take a look and act differently now.” The processing of sexual abuse is part of a comprehensive renewal and reform of the church, as the synodal path has taken up.

Specifically, Marx advocated a different approach to non-heterosexual people in the church. Sexual orientation should no longer be “potential for blackmail” in the church. This must also have consequences for the ecclesiastical labor law applicable in Germany. According to him, a certain sexual inclination means “no restriction to becoming a priest”. In the Catholic Church, there has been a controversial discussion for years as to whether gay men can be ordained.

Marx gave an evasive answer to the controversial role of Pope Benedict XVI, who was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. Benedict had first written to the lawyers that in 1980 he was absent from a crucial Ordinariate meeting dealing with the use of a pedophile priest in the Archdiocese. Shortly thereafter, his private secretary Georg Gänswein had to correct this statement and spoke of an “editorial error”. Marx said: “I have no doubts about the seriousness of the report”, but it is neither a court nor a historical judgment. You have to wait for the announced detailed statement from Benedict.

The Munich report has no direct personnel consequences for the time being. However, the Munich ecclesiastical judge, Prelate Lorenz Wolf, who was also charged, has suspended all his offices. Wolf is also head of the Catholic office in Bavaria, which keeps in touch with politics, and is head of the BR broadcasting council.


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