Impressive penance

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, Germany, presided over a penance service at the cathedral of St. Peter in that city. The service was held for the victims of sexual abuse by clerics and other Church workers. Bishop Bode’s act of prostrating himself before the altar can’t be taken too highly. The altar, after all, is the table upon which the sacrifice of Christ is made present in every single Mass, and as such it represents the suffering Christ Himself. That is why, for example, the priest kisses the altar at the start of the Mass. When a bishop, or anyone, prostrates himself before the altar, it is a sign of total submission to the judgement of Christ, the ultimate arbiter of us all.

Taquoriaan has more, including a translation of Bishop Bode’s homily.