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Letter from Rome: Pope Francis endorses Cardinal Marx

The pope's refusal to accept the German cardinal's resignation strengthens moves towards a substantial reform of the Church

Letter from Rome: Pope Francis endorses Cardinal Marx

Cardinal Reinhard Marx's resignation has been rejected by Pope Francis. He had offered to renounce his office because of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. (Photo: AFP)

Cardinal Reinhard Marx tried to resign but, in the end, Pope Francis rejected the move and instructed the 67-year-old German to continue leading the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The news is a major blow to doctrinal hardliners and neo-traditionalists, and everyone else who is a part of the Church's "no change" crowd.

Because Marx is not just any bishop or cardinal. He's one of the most energetic and forceful proponents of ecclesial reform through synodality, a process of wide-ranging consultation of all the Church's members that Francis is trying to make constitutive of Catholicism.

And the cardinal is an extremely influential papal aide as a member of the Council of Cardinals and moderator of the Vatican's Council for the Economy. He also served from 2012-18 as president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences and until last year as head of the German Bishops’ Conference. In short, Reinhard Marx is a big player.

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