(ROME) — Pope Francis on Thursday rejected the resignation of German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who asked to step down over the mishandling of sex abuse cases in Germany.
Marx, who serves as the archbishop of Munich and Freising, is not suspected of abuse or cover up.
In his response letter to Marx, the pope writes that “the whole Church is in crisis” over abuse, and says that it can no longer take a “head-in-sand policy.”
“He admits the way the church handled abuse was a catastrophe, calls for wide-ranging reform, and calls for Marx to lead the reform of the church,” Josh McElwee, a Vatican expert, says.
Francis’ letter comes a week after he updated Vatican laws regarding sex abuse, which survivor groups say still allow too much wiggle room for abusing priests to face justice.
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