In his new book titled Freedom (Freiheit), the archbishop of Munich and Freising regrets that Catholics “do not really integrate the idea of freedom into their faith.”
“I want to be a free person,” writes Marx in his new book. “The biblical God is a God of liberation,” Marx says. “He created man in freedom and wanted him to respond to it in freedom. This requires freedom of religion and conscience.”
Marx blames the Church’s “tragic” turn to obedience — calling it a “most pernicious error” — on Pope Gregory XVI and his 1832 encyclical on civil obedience, Cum Primum.
The cardinal argues that the Church, in the historic struggles for Her freedom from state control, “initially pursued only Her own interest” and only began to understand after the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) the wider significance of freedom, namely that “the Christian faith’s commitment to freedom includes the commitment to the freedom of all.”
According to German Catholic news site katholisch.de, Marx claims in his book that the Church “could not resist the temptation to exercise power over people and stir up fear.” While naming no one in particular, Marx accuses Catholics, including bishops, who tout obedience at the expense of freedom as being “too strongly oriented towards self-preservation strategies.”
The cardinal maintains that the world is “at a crossroads between real freedom and a relapse into authoritarianism,” an intersection more pronounced for Marx in a post-pandemic world.
Freedom had become “a matter of life” for the cardinal since his adolescence when he “began to explore the space between possibilities and limits,” according to katholisch.de.
At his episcopal ordination in 1996, Marx chose as his motto “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom” (Ubi Spiritus Domini Ibi Libertas), which comes from a letter from St. Paul to the Church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 3:17). The words also appear on the cardinal’s coat of arms.