Germany’s top Roman Catholic cleric, and one of the most influential liberal figures in the Catholic Church, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, offered his resignation to the Pope as the Archbishop of Munich over child sexual abuse scandals in the church.
TOS News gathered that more than 3,600 children in Germany had been sexually assaulted by Roman Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014 while only 38% of the alleged perpetrators were prosecuted.
Last week, the pope sent two Bishops to investigate the handling of abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
Marx, 67, told reporters he had sent the letter on May 21, but that it was only last week that the Pope had e-mailed him to say he could make it public.
The Pope is still considering his offer and has asked him to remain in his post pending a decision on his resignation offer.
“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” he said in the letter written in German to Pope Francis. He said he hoped his resignation would “make a fresh start, a new departure.”
“I want to show that it’s not the institution in the foreground, but the mission of the gospel” Marx added in the letter.
Not under any suspicion of having participated in abuse or cover-ups, Marx told reporters churchmen had to take personal responsibility for institutional failings.
The cardinal in his letter told the Pope he would continue to serve the Church in any capacity he was ordered to.
Around a quarter of the German population is registered in the Catholic Church.