Cardinal Reinhard Marx, successor to Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict) as archbishop of Munich, is critical of “royal court carrying on” at the center of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican behaves too much like a royal court, Archbishop Marx told the Deutsche Presseagentur (German press agency).
“The successor of Peter can be no monarch. In my view, that would contradict the office of Peter,” Marx said. With media coverage of church events such as the election of the pope, there is the danger that superficialities play too great a role, said the 59-year-old.
“Things such as the Swiss Guard and postage stamps are very nice, but the central thing is that Christ is spoken of. Side things can’t become the central thing. We have to attend to this.”
Marx expects a reform of the curia from Pope Francis. “There was a basic feeling among the cardinals that something has to change, that one must reflect anew on areas of responsibility, that one must deal with the scandals of the past. The pope will certainly be concerned about this, so that responsibility is taken for whatever wasn’t functioning correctly.”
Whether more things could be decided locally rather than in Rome will also have to be examined, Marx said. “I wish to emphasize strongly that we need the central office in Rome. But it must not overreach.”
“Everyone has to find their authentic style,” Marx said. “I rejoice that the new pope is so well received. But he will also have to make difficult decisions which won’t please everyone. As I have gotten to know him, he will not distance himself from his predecessor, but he will bring to the Petrine ministry his pastoral experiences from Buenos Aires. Just as Benedict had brought in his theological experiences.”
The archbishop of Munich does not wish to cut off contact with Pope Emeritus Benedict. “He is interested in what happens in Bavaria and especially in his home diocese. I will take care that lively, friendly contact with him continues further.”