Garching an der Alz (dpa) – The Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, apologized for incidents of abuse in the community during a visit to Garching an der Alz and admitted mistakes.
Today we know “that there has also been abuse, that the pastor who worked here was an abuser,” Marx said Saturday after discussions and a joint prayer with community representatives. “This is a betrayal of the message of Jesus and it is a failure of the institution for which I apologize.”
A priest convicted of sexual abuse had worked in Garching for about 20 years, although he had previously abused and convicted children in another parish. According to the diocese, he relapsed after his transfer to Garching, which took place before Marx was the responsible bishop. Three victims had come forward accusing the man of abusing them.
“My apologies for this failure,” Marx said. “We probably underestimated something about the tension and wounds and injuries there.” He now knows “that processing things is a long story and that many underestimate it”.
According to Marx, the Garching case will be covered in the Archdiocese Sexual Abuse Report, expected later this year — as will other cases, including those from his time as Archbishop. “I don’t have a specific point right now where I say I covered something up,” Marx said. But: “I can’t say of myself that I always knew everything exactly.” Sometimes he may not have looked closely enough. “Shouldn’t I have tried to know more?” he asked. “I consider that my fault.”
With his resignation, which Pope Francis rejected a few weeks ago, he wanted to take on institutional but also very personal responsibility. “The resignation was meant to be comprehensive,” Marx emphasized. “I’m not a robot. I stand by it as a person, even with my mistakes.”
The church must learn from the scandal, he demanded in view of the reform process «Synodal Way»: «If the shock does not lead to reform, then I do not know how big the shock must be.»