Bishop prostrates himself as penance for crimes against children

Do you remember that I suggested that to do penance for the crimes against minors by priests and bishops, and the damage they have done to the Church, bishops
especially should prostrate themselves in public view before their cathedrals before going inside to say Holy Mass?

I received some news from Taquoriaan, a long time viewer of the Z-Cam and participant in Z-Chat (when I have it, which hasn’t been too often lately).

Dear Father Z,

I don’t know if you heard about it, probably you did, but Bp. Bode has been making a lot of POSITIVE press headlines by doing a full prostration during a penance service last Sunday in the Osnabrück Cathedral and asked again forgiveness to the victims of child abuse in the Church. I posted a video in German on my blog and also translated the sermon he did to English.

WDTPRS kudos to Bishop Bode.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Clerical Sexual Abuse, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, New Evangelization. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Supertradmum says:

    Very moving. Perhaps some of our American bishops and English bishops can do the same.

  2. Marc says:

    @ Supertradmum: you said it. We all need to do this.

  3. JohnMa says:

    This Bishop seems like a real shepherd. His brethren across the pond could learn a thing or two from him.

  4. moon1234 says:

    Grrrr. Female servers with the Bishop present. I will take a good traditional Amercian Bishop anyday. Why don’t MORE bishops dress like Fulton Sheen? Good for te Bishop, but PLEASE work on the externalities as well.

  5. Melody says:

    Good leadership. I pray others will follow his example.

  6. markomalley says:

    Good for Bishop Bode!

  7. medievalist says:

    No pillows or support for anyone either…the Lord may forgive, but stone floors don’t. Ad multos annos +Bode!

  8. Jim Dorchak says:

    I am sorry for being so shallow, and I think it is wonderful what this Bishop has been doing, but it is so hard to take him serious when I see behind him girls serving on the altar. I know it is a little off topic, but I see this as a sexualization of the Mass and the Church which is just why this poor Bishop is in this rut to begin with.

  9. Bruce says:

    Jim Dorchak & Moon1234,

    Brick by Brick!
    I take seriously any Bishop who protrates himself as penance for crimes against children.

  10. benedetta says:

    Such an act of simplicity like this can speak volumes.

  11. Incaelo says:

    Jim Dorchak & Moon1234: seriously? You are distracted by the gender of a few altar servers from this incredible act by Bishop Bode? Wow…

    As Father Z says: brick by brick. The Church in the western world still has a lot of bricks that need stacking, but some bricks form the wall’s foundation. We can sit and wait for the house to be complete, or we can rejoice for every brick that is put in its right place. I gladly choose the latter option.

    In the current western European climate – within and without the Church – this act of penance is highly unconvential. I suspect that it will not be enough for the vast majority of people. But I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  12. irishgirl says:

    Kudos to the Bishop for this act of penance and humility!
    Incaelo-‘I suspect that it will not be enough for the vast majority of people’. You got that right….the so-called ‘victims advocates’, for example!

  13. cmm says:

    Very moving.

  14. DHippolito says:

    Why is everybody so taken with this public act of contrition? Is it because we’ve grown all-too-accustomed to bishops acting like medieval potentates, with the concommittant vices of entitlement and arrogance? Such an act, though humiliating, is only momentary.

    I wonder if this bishop had any role in the scandal, whether covering it up or abetting it. If so, then prostration isn’t enough. If this bishop really wishes to repent, he should participate in uncovering those who made war against the innocent. At the very least, he should submit his resignation to the Vatican.

    [You have a penchant for posting negative comments. I am getting a little tired of that.]

  15. Actually, I think the female person in the surplice was an adult, just as the male one was, so there’s no girl server there at all. Given the huge number of higher-ups present, I bet both of the surpliced persons were readers and/or cantors; but I won’t insist on that.

    It would seem that children were not used as servers for this; and indeed, if you’re going to be penitent about crimes against children, it seems to me you wouldn’t want to have children as servers. It would tangle up the symbolism of humbling the bishop and the other adults.

  16. Well, maybe they are servers, since they do end up in a server-type position around the altar. Anyway, definitely adults, and middle-aged too.

  17. Jim Dorchak says:

    Ok… I agree with the brick by brick approach, I am very in line with that. I just do not see a house being built brick by brick on a bad foundation. Having laid many bricks in my short life I will tell you that it will not make for a sound structure.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    Very good, and does wonders for our believing he is serious about the topic.

    I know I have never before seen a bishop lay prostrate in his cathedral like this. I very rarely ever see a priest really kneel and pray. It’s quite unusual. In Europe, it’s very strange.

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