Updated: June 04, 2021 12:56 PM GMT
In this file photo taken on February 01, 2017 Cardinal Reinhard Marx holds the laudatory speech for the German Chancellor who was given the Eugen-Bolz-Award at the New Castle in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany. (Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP)
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of Germany's leading Catholic bishops, said June 4 that he had offered Pope Francis his resignation over the church's "institutional and systemic failure" in its handling of child sex abuse scandals."It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades," said Marx in a letter to the pope dated May 21 and published Friday by his archdiocese in Munich.Investigations and reports had "consistently shown there have been many personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or 'systemic' failure," added Marx, who was president of the German Bishops' Conference from 2012 to 2020. Slamming colleagues who "refuse to believe there is a shared responsibility in this respect", he said the Church was at "a dead end".He added that he hoped his resignation would offer a new beginning for the Church.According to the diocese's statement, the pope had granted permission for the letter to be published and told Marx to remain in his role until he received an answer.ScandalsGermany's Catholic church has been rocked by a string of reports in recent years that have laid bare the extent of sexual abuse of children by clergymen.A study commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference under Marx's presidency and released in 2018 showed that 1,670 clergymen had committed some type of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014.However, its authors said the actual number of victims was almost certainly much higher.