Head of German Catholics says he’ll step down at end of term

BERLIN (AP) — The Roman Catholic cardinal who leads the German Bishops’ Conference said Tuesday he plans to step down at the end of his term in March.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, 66, said in a letter to fellow bishops in Germany that he would not seek a second term leading the conference due to his age and because he wants to spend more time at the diocese of Munich and Freising, where he serves as archbishop.

“I think it is time for the younger generation to take over,” Marx wrote. “And maybe it is also good if there are more frequent changes …. I enjoyed the job as head of the German Bishops’ Conference very much, but there is a time for everything.”

The German Bishops’ Conference will elect a new head during its general assembly in March.

Marx said he would continue to actively support the work of the Bishops Conference, especially on the German Catholic Church’s two-year “synodal path” initiative.

The synodal path is a period of discussions and meetings by the Bishop’s Conference and Germany’s leading lay group, the Central Council of Catholics, on the topics of the worldwide Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis, the position of women in the church, the priesthood and sexual morality.