After the announcement that Archbishop Reinhard Cardinal Marx of Munich will be awarded the "Great Cross of Merit with Star," the advisory council for those affected in the Archdiocese of Cologne is speaking out. Steinmeier should not give the cardinal this honor.
Cologne's Council of Concerns urges German president not to honor Munich's Cardinal Marx. The background is a case from the diocese of Trier, which is said to have occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
At the same time, one of the victims is said to have been sexually abused by her superior priest for many years. The woman reports that the priest forced her to have an abortion when she noticed that she was pregnant.
According to her, she presented her case to Marx, then bishop of Trier, and later to Bishop Ackermann in the 2000s. Only with the help of canon law and later lawyers, the diocese had initiated investigations against the accused offender.
Cover-up by Marx?
Cologne's council of affected persons says Cardinal Marx, in his capacity as bishop of Trier, wanted to cover up the case. Peter Bringmann-Henselder, a member of the Betroffenenrat, adds: "Likewise, Cardinal Marx let an expert opinion regarding the cases of sexualized violence in the archdiocese of Freising-Munich, which was supposed to be published in 2010, disappear in the safe without a sound after it had been presented."In fact, the investigation report from that time is still under lock and key, for this summer the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising plans to publish a new study that will document the cases of sexualized violence between 1945 and 2019.
"Actually, everyone would have to return their Cross of Merit"
If Cardinal Marx would still receive the Federal Cross of Merit because of the incidents, Bringmann-Henselder states, the recent awards to the pioneers of the fight against sexualized violence in the Catholic Church, Jesuit Father Mertes and Matthias Katsch, would be absurd and worthless. Bringmann-Henselder, himself a bearer of the Federal Cross of Merit, would as a consequence retroactively reject his award and recommends that all "who have already been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for their services to the victims of sexualized violence should be given it back".