The Pope is at the decisive crossroads: what Marx’s resignation reveals

The Pope is at the decisive crossroads: what Marx’s resignation reveals
The Pope is at the decisive crossroads: what Marx’s resignation reveals

In technical terms, the cardinal Reinhard Marx he has by no means resigned as bishop of Munich and Freising, because that is not the formula. Marx may at best have “offered” his resignation to Pope Francis, who has the power to decide whether or not to accept the intention of the Teutonic cardinal. Of course, the practice, except for extraordinary reasons or for singular choices, wants the Pope to accept. The letter in which Marx announced his decision focuses on the substantial defeat of the Church in facing the tragedy of abuses.

It will be the Pope who will determine how to deal with the matter. The figure also resides in the symbol, the one that the former president of the German Bishops Conference it represents the “progressive Church”, which does not exist as a category in itself but which inhabits many individual consciences, which pushes for change. So much so as to proceed with a biennial national Synod that raised schismatic concerns.

That Marx was no ordinary cardinal was clear to most. So these “resignations” make more noise than usual. Then there is the background, with all its backstories. That the German Church wanted to proceed in an autocephalous way or almost pure. So a certain nervousness, these days, was to be planned. Because every day that passes, the German Church approaches the gong of its “Council”. And every day that passes the German Church moves towards the moment of the possible “clash” with Rome. In theory, some in and around Berlin believe that the German bishops can make “binding decisions”, that is, free from papal authorization. Is this a plausible hypothesis?

No. Unless the return of the National churches, with a lot of schism in tow. It will be remembered how the Pope, just as the Synod was beginning, had also written a letter to the German people. A text that reads the following: “At the root of this temptation is the thought that, in the face of so many problems and shortcomings, the best answer would be to reorganize things, make changes and especially” mend “that allow the life of the Church to be put in order and in harmony to the present logic or to that of a particular group. Following this path it might seem that everything will be resolved and things will reorganize if ecclesial life enters a “determined” new and ancient order that puts an end to the tensions proper to our human being and to those that the Gospel wants to arouse “. Bergoglio was clear: it is not possible to proceed with “mending” intended for a “revolutionary” revision of the Christian-Catholic doctrine. The indication contained in the letter was direct and is current. Because the German path continues.

The requests are known: they range from the blessing for homosexual couples to the secularization of ecclesiastical management and the abolition of priestly celibacy, passing through a series of openings that could involve – just to say another – the possibility of ordaining “priestesses “. Here, Francis in the reform of the sixth book of canon law, which was announced the day before Marx’s “retreat”, introduced harsh sanctions for those wishing to proceed with the innovative, but not foreseen and not permitted, type of ordination. A clear signal that came from Rome and to which someone also associates Marx’s decision to “resign” or in any case to take a step sideways towards one of the posts he holds today. Could that of Marx be a “game” to the upside to get the German Catholic Church to proceed with its approach aimed at “embracing the world”? Unlikely. It would be too “political” a background to be true. However, Marx also resigned as president of the German Bishops’ Conference some time ago, leaving room for a successor – Msgr. Georg Baetzing – which seems to proceed in the Marxist approach in the sense of the vision of the cardinal and not that of the theorist of communism.

Obviously, the reasons presented by Cardinal Marx are not related to the climate around the biennial Synod. Indeed, the cardinal – as reported by theActed – has substantially surrendered to today’s impossibility of resolving the tragedy linked to the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults within ecclesiastical institutions: “I am convinced that there will be a new era for Christianity, there is no doubt. But this can only happen if the Church renews itself and learns from this crisis”. Marx did not dodge any personal responsibilities, emphasizing the “many personal shortcomings and administrative errors, but also an institutional and ‘systemic’ failure”. The caridnale added that“Victims also expect signals to be given regarding accountability.” The process that was put in place to resolve the overall drama of the abuses, however it may be, “is not yet finished: much has gone on, but we are not at the end. On the one hand, it is a question of seeing what the failure of individuals has been – continued the cardinal –, but we must also understand what the responsibilities of the institutions are. Only the bishop can proceed with this assumption of responsibility, also with regard to the period prior to my arrival “. It must be said that, in the meantime, the German Church has been hit by a further scandal, with the investigation relating to the archdiocese of Cologne, where there is talk of 314 victims according to the investigations that emerged. Net of all the possible background concerning the doctrinal aspects, in summary, Cardinal Marx may have decided to throw in the towel because he is truly convinced that the Catholic Church is at a “dead end”.

On the web, even among the experts, many explanations of the resignation are presented, including even examinations that read the backward passage as a result of the non-acceptance of requests relating to doctrinal changes. Those who would like in Germany and who, in all probability, Francesco will fail. But the official version is that of the letter from Cardinal Marx, who resigned for the obvious reasons. However, the cardinal, offering his resignation from the diocese in which he is in charge, has certainly listed elements that suggest the need for a overall reform. On closer inspection, the Pope will have to decide on his resignation, but perhaps also on general and decisive aspects.

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