The survivors’ organization, therefore, called on Bode “to take moral responsibility for the suffering caused by him — irrespective of the standards of criminal law.”
“Criminal law alone cannot be the litmus test for a bishop, and ‘Vos estis lux mundi’ here speaks a canonically clear language,” it said.
The council’s statement on Dec. 12 added that it was “very difficult” for members affected by sexual violence “to see Bishop Bode as a counterpart who is committed to honest and consistent processing of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church.”
It was now up to Bode to decide for himself “what personal consequences he wants to draw.”
In a first reaction on Monday afternoon, the accused bishop reacted with a brief statement, saying he would cooperate and “of course, face the result of this investigation,” CNA Deutsch reported.
So far, not a single case of a German bishop being made the subject of a Vos estis investigation has been undertaken by the Vatican.
Several prominent German prelates have been accused of mishandling cases of sexual abuse. They include Synodal Way initiator Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Synodal Way president Bishop Georg Bätzing — the successor to Marx as president of the bishops’ conference — and Hamburg’s Archbishop Heße.
All of them have so far remained in office.
“I respect this step of the Council of Concerned and support the investigation thus initiated by the Roman authorities,” Bode said in his statement published Dec. 12.
“To the responsible dicasteries in the Vatican, I will forward, in addition to the excerpts already described by the [council], the entire interim report that the University of Osnabrück has prepared on behalf of our diocese for investigation.”
Bode is an outspoken supporter of the Synodal Way’s processes and resolutions. He has publicly supported women deacons and a Church ceremony for blessing same-sex unions.
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