“The studies and reports of the last ten years have shown time and again that there have been many personal and administrative errors, but also institutional or ‘systemic’ failures,” the letter continues.
Pope Francis has not yet accepted Marx’s resignation and the archbishop is to remain in office until a decision is made, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Munich. The statement also states that Marx “has repeatedly considered resigning in recent months”.
“It is painful for me to see how badly the reputation of the bishops is damaged in ecclesiastical and secular perception, which is perhaps even the lowest,” said Marx in the letter. “I feel that I have made myself personally guilty and accountable for staying silent, not acting, and focusing too much on the reputation of the Church.”
The news comes amid growing turmoil among German believers over abuse. Last week, the Pope sent two high-ranking foreign bishops to investigate the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany’s largest archdiocese, for dealing with abuse cases, Reuters reported.
At a Vatican summit in February 2019, Marx admitted that documents that might have contained evidence of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church had been destroyed or never produced.
“Files that could have documented the terrible acts and named those responsible were destroyed or not created at all,” said Marx at the summit.
“The prescribed procedures and processes for the persecution offenses were deliberately not adhered to … such standard practices will make it clear that it is not the transparency of the church that harms, but the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency or the subsequent cover-up.”
At a later press conference during the summit, Marx said the information about the destruction of files came from a study commissioned by German bishops in 2014. The study was “scientific” and did not name the individual church leaders or dioceses in Germany who destroyed the files.