Pope Francis rejects Cardinal Marx’ resignation: ‘Continue as Archbishop of Munich’
By Vatican News
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My friend the Ostrich in Finsbury Park accosted me this afternoon to ask what this guy Francis means by “the politics of the ostrich lead nowhere”. He suspects that this was yet another ignorant allusion to the ancient libel of the whole struthio-cameline race first perpetrated by Pliny the Elder. No, he assured me, ‘we don’t stick our heads in the sand or in a bush when danger threatens. And this lad is meant to be infallible?!’
There is a lot of relief that the Pope has asked Cardinal Marx to stay in office as archbishop of Munich. Cardinal Marx stands for a reform process which is already underway with the Synodal Path which was initiated here in Germany in December 2019.
This reform process goes well beyond the issue of sexual abuse which stood at the centre of the letter of resignation of the Cardinal. It aims at the issue of power, of its abuse and how the separation of powers in the Church and the participation and involvement of all the faithful in the mission of the Church can stop the abuse of power.
The priestly way of life including its celibate form will also be discussed in this synodal process. And of course the question of the participation of women at all levels of the life of the Church, including the ministry, will be a major issue. And last but not least the problem of the lack of acceptance by the majority of the faithful of the Churches teaching on sexual morality has been tabled as an issue to be discussed.
The Synodal Path is made up of an equal number of lay persons and clergy. Cardinal Marx (and his successor Bishop Bätzing as chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference) is, along with the president of the Central Committee of German Catholics Thomas Sternberg, one of the main motors of this synodal process. He explicitly called for and succeeded in having an equal representation of the laity at all levels of the synodal process right up to the decisions which have yet to be made. It is not just the people of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising who are delighted that the Pope has asked him to stay in office. All those throughout the country who are thirsting for radical reforms in the Church are thrilled that he is still in the boat.