MUNICH (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the controversial German Bishops' Conference (GBC), is stepping down.
Marx, president of GBC since 2014, announced he won't accept a second term when the German bishops gather for their spring general assembly from March 2–5 in Mainz. In his statement, the archbishop of Munich and Freising praised the so-called synodal way, which other bishops have criticized for its radical, anti-Catholic doctrine.
The cardinal, one of nine key papal advisors in the Council of Cardinals, said he wants to spend more time in his archdiocese pushing his agenda.
"Of course, I will continue to work actively in the Episcopal Conference," said Marx, "and will be particularly committed to the synodal way, which I think has started well."
"At the same time," the cardinal announced, "I would like to have a stronger presence in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, especially in the comprehensive strategy process that we want to start this year."
The cardinal, who is only 66, also cited age as being a factor in not wanting to accept a second, six-year term.
Referencing the mandatory retirement age of 75, Marx explained, "My idea is that at the end of a possible second term of office, I would be 72 years old, and then the end of my role as archbishop of Munich and Freising will also be close. I think it should be the turn of the younger generation."
In a spirit of fraternal correction, the Ukrainian bishops warned the German bishops that their so-called synodal path is harming the faith of believers everywhere. One such source of harm was Germany's approval of homosexuality.
"Some of our faithful, who carry the burden of homosexuality and other wounds in the sexual sphere, upon learning about such statements of your Commission, feel helpless in their struggle to lead a chaste life," warned Ukrainian bishop.
Another area of deep concern for the Ukrainian hierarchy was the German synod's approval of contraception.
"Marriages, objecting to the contraceptive mentality of this world and opening to the gift of life, experience deep doubts after reading your opinions about contraception," Ukraine's bishops lamented.
German bishops are also pushing for married clergy. The Vatican's chief liturgist, Cdl. Robert Sarah, on Feb. 8 called them out. In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Sarah admonished rich German bishops for pushing their agenda on the universal Church and specifically on the Amazon.
"Some Church organizations which handle a lot of money believe they can put pressure on the pope and the bishops," observed Sarah. "We see it in Germany. Some want to impose their projects on the whole Church."
He issued a dire warning for Germany to stop pushing to end mandatory clerical celibacy, owing to its drastic harm to the priesthood.
"In Germany, a strange synod clearly envisages the questioning of celibacy," Sarah warned. "I wanted to cry out my concern: Do not tear the Church apart! By attacking the celibacy of priests, you are attacking the Church and her mystery!"