He is one of the most important church people in Germany and should now receive the Cross of Merit. But abuse victims saw this critically. Cardinal Marx is now drawing the consequences.
Munich / Berlin (dpa) – Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx relinquishes the Cross of Merit after criticizing victims of abuse. As a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising announced, Marx sent a letter to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The prize should have been awarded to the former chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference in Berlin on Friday. The “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” had previously reported on the waiver. Initially there was no response from the cabinet of the Federal President.
According to the information, Marx thanked him for the “high honor of the award,” which the head of state had held “in response to public criticism in an appreciative and benevolent manner.” He was aware that the award was also an opportunity for self-critical consideration of his work and the work of the Catholic Church as a whole.
“I take very seriously the criticism now being leveled by people dealing with sexual abuse in the Church, regardless of the correctness of the individual statements in open letters and in the media.” In the sense that he comes to terms with what he has committed himself to personally and as a minister of the church, he does not ignore this criticism.
According to the information, Marx then wrote that with the waiver he also wanted to avoid negative interpretations regarding other people who had received the award. Moreover, he does not want to damage the office of Federal President.
On Monday, the Advisory Council in the Archdiocese of Cologne appealed to the Federal President not to implement the award for the time being. According to the advisory board representing the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, the allegation of cover-up at Marx is “far from cleared up” and several investigations have not yet been completed. For those affected, the honor would be unbearable.
The Federal President’s office subsequently held the award. In his time as chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Marx made a special case for justice and solidarity, a spokesman explained. The cardinal campaigned for the admission of refugees and took a stand against populism and agitation. Marx deserves credit for this. At the same time, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expected the unconditional clarification of the mass sexual abuse of children and young people in the Catholic Church, she had said.
Marx has been Archbishop of Munich and Freising since 2008. From 2014 to 2020 he chaired the German Bishops’ Conference.
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