Germany’s Cardinal Marx renounces state honour over abuse probes

dpa international [Berlin, Germany]

April 27, 2021

One of Germany’s most senior church figures, Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has renounced an Order of Merit award after criticism from abuse victims who said investigations into child abuse were “far from being cleared up.”

Marx had sent a letter to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday requesting that he not receive the award, a spokesman for the archdiocese of Munich and Freising said.

The award was to have been presented in Berlin on Friday.

According to the statement, Marx thanked Steinmeier for the “high honour” of the award, while the head of state would hold onto it “in response to the public criticism.”

On Monday, a victims’ advisory council in the archdiocese of Cologne had appealed to Steinmeier not to make the award for the time being.

According to the advisory board, which represents victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, accusations of an alleged cover-up by Marx were “far from being cleared up.”

For those affected, they argued, the awarding of such a high state honour to Marx would be unbearable.