German archbishop offers to quit over church abuse scandals


BERLIN — One of Germany’s most prominent Roman Catholic archbishops on Friday offered his resignation to Pope Francis, citing the church’s handling of sexual abuse scandals as one reason he wants to step down and saying the church had arrived at “a dead point.”

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, 67, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, published parts of his resignation letter to the pope online.

In the letter, he wrote that he wants to take a share of responsibility for the “catastrophe of sexual abuse by office-holders of the church in the past decades.”

Marx, who led the German Bishops’ Conference from 2014 until 2020, wrote that investigations during the last decade showed there had been “a lot of personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or systemic failure.”

In 2018, a church-commissioned report concluded that at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014. More than half of the victims were 13 or younger when the abuse took place, and nearly a third of them were altar boys, according to the report.

Earlier this year, another report on sexual abuse in the country’s western Cologne diocese brought up numerous cases of sex abuse by priests. The archbishop of Hamburg, a former Cologne church official who was faulted in that report, offered his resignation to the pope and was granted a “time out” of unspecified length.

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