Germany's Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, who was Accused of Failing to Report Abuse, Resignation is Accepted by Pope Francis

The German Osnabrück Bishop Franz-Josef Bode was announced on March 25th. Franz-Josef Bode offered Pope Francis his resignation as Bishop of Osnabrück in a letter dated January 21st. The resignation was then accepted at the end of February, a spokesman for the diocese of Osnabrück announced on Monday. The bishopric in Osnabrück has been vacant since Saturday. Bode (age 72), who has also been Vice-Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference (DBK) since 2017, justified the resignation primarily with his own mistakes in dealing with sexual abuse. At the same time he said that his "increasingly failing health" would no longer allow him to carry out his leadership duties in Osnabrück and in the church in Germany for another three years until he was 75 "in the manner required for the office".

In September, the University of Osnabrück published the interim report (600 pages) of a study on sexual abuse in the diocese of Osnabrück. In it, Bode is accused of not dutifully responding to reports of sexual abuse. In December, the Council of Affected Persons of the North German dioceses reported the bishop to the Vatican for his handling of cases of abuse. Bode made one of his last public appearances at the beginning of March at the fifth and last general assembly of the Synodal Path, of which he was a member. There were calls for him to resign at the time of the report but he refused.

Other bishops regretted the decision, but showed him respect. "I would have liked to have seen you by our side for more years in the German Bishops' Conference," said DBK Chairman Georg Bätzing . 

Edited from