Pope Francis on Tuesday green-lit the resignation of Archbp. Ludwig Schick. Archbishop Shick has served as Bavaria's Bamberg archdiocese head beginning in 2022.
Reason for Resignation?
According to an article by Catholic World Report, the German prelate was in hot water due to the alleged mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases in his jurisdiction.
Shick reportedly released a statement on Nov. 1, saying he had informed the Holy Father about his desire to leave office.
The archbishop revealed that he had told Pope Francis about his resignation "verbally and in writing during a private audience in April of this year, explaining it thus: I have fulfilled and completed my duties in the archdiocese."
"After presenting my reasons again, he then granted my request at the end of September," Archbishop Schick said, adding that the pontiff initially tried to convince him to stay in his position.
While uncertain, the pressure the archbishop felt recently could be a triggering factor for his decision to vacate his office despite the pope's appeal for him not to resign.
Archbishop Schick Explains Decision
Archbishop Shick, 73, served as Bamberg's religious leader for two decades.
Under the Catholic Church's canon law, bishops are expected to tender their resignation to the sitting pope once they reach 75.
"After careful consideration and prayer, as well as many conversations with my spiritual director, I came to the conclusion in the first quarter of this year to ask the pope to release me from my duties," Schick told CNA Deutsch.
He explained that he was vacating his office with confidence. "The tasks of the Church, the proclamation of the Gospel, the divine services, pastoral care and charity can be fruitfully continued on a good foundation. That is my wish and my request!" the archbishop wrote in his native German.
Schick bared that Vatican authorities had scheduled the publication of his dismissal on Nov. 1. He said, "until then, the decision was to be kept strictly confidential."
Shick said that he had "strictly adhered" to the directive, which is why he issued a public statement after the said date.
The German Bishops' Conference President, Bishop Georg Bätzing, expressed gratitude for Shick's service to the archdiocese and his previous capacity as the chairperson of the German and Polish bishops' conferences' Contact Group.
The report disclosed that the Southern German archbishop was not the first German archbishop to leave office.
Munich's Cardinal Reinhard Marx reportedly requested Pope Francis to approve his resignation in 2021.
Archbishop Marx, like Shick, also received criticism for his handling of clergy sexual abuse claims under his watch. And just like in the case of Schick, the pope also asked Marx not to push through with this decision to leave his post.
However, Francis did approve a 59-year-old Swiss bishop's resignation request, who told the pope he had felt "inner fatigue," which caused his continued tenure in his office to become "unbearable."