A recent damning report into child sex abuses in the archdiocese of Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx in Germany led him to call for the lifting of the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests and Bishops.
According to the influential Catholic archbishop of Munich and Freising, many priests would prefer to get married.
Last year, a damaging independent report found that 235 people — including 173 priests — sexually abused 497 people between 1945 and 2019 in the Munich and Freising archdiocese.
Law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl discovered that former Munich and Freising Catholic archbishop, ex-pope Benedict XVI, did not intervene to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in Munich during the 1980s before he became the Pope.
Catholic Archbishop Marx is also accused of failing to act in two suspected cases of child abuse.
Marx said he was “shocked and ashamed” by the findings following the release of the report. He said on Wednesday that he wondered if celibacy should be a basic requirement for clergy.
“I feel that things cannot continue as they are,” he said. “I always tell young priests this: living alone is not easy.
“And if some say: if there is no obligation of celibacy, they will all make love, then so be it! If they all marry, then at least that’s an indication that things aren’t working right now.”
As the German Catholic synod prepares for its upcoming assembly, which will support reform of the institution by 2023, the archbishop’s remarks on the subject were unusually forthright.
The panel is expected to examine several topics viewed with suspicion by conservatives and the Vatican, including allowing priests and Bishops to marry and giving women a more prominent role.
Last year, Marx submitted his resignation to Pope Francis due to the church’s failure to deal with child sex abuse scandals on an institutional and systemic level.
However, Francis rejected the Catholic cardinal’s resignation and urged him to stay and help shape changes within the church. Four years ago, it was reported that 3,677 children had been sexually abused in the German Catholic Church since 1946.
However, its authors estimated that the true figure was higher since they did not have access to the church’s files.