ROME — Pope Francis has refused to accept the resignation of German Cardinal Reinhard Marx over the sex abuse scandal in the church.
In a letter, Francis said a process of reform was necessary instead and that every bishop must take responsibility for the “catastrophe” of the crisis.
Francis wrote his letter to Marx in response to the cardinal's bombshell announcement last week that he had offered to resign as archbishop of Munich and Freising over the church’s mishandling of abuse cases.
"The investigations and reports of the last ten years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or 'systemic' failure," the letter continued.
Marx also issued a challenge of sorts for his fellow bishops to use the abuse scandal as an opportunity to save and reform the church.
Francis refused to accept the resignation and told Marx in the letter he must continue as archbishop.
A 2018 report found that the Catholic Church in Germany admitted to "at least" 3,677 cases of child sex abuse by church officials between 1946 and 2014.
Just last week, the Vatican adopted new laws aimed at cutting down sex abuse by church officials. The new rules explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests and also address the sexual abuse by lay people working for the church.