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.