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Benedictine Bishop Dominicus Meier replaces Bode in Osnabrück Diocese in Germany

Bishop Dominicus Meier OSB. / Credit: Besim Mazhiqi, Archdiocese of Paderborn

CNA Newsroom, May 30, 2024 / 13:45 pm (CNA).

More than a year after a German bishop resigned under pressure over his handling of clerical sexual abuse, the Vatican announced a successor on Tuesday.

The Diocese of Osnabrück in northwestern Germany will be led by a Benedictine monk and bishop: Dominicus Meier will follow in the footsteps of Franz-Josef Bode, who resigned in March 2023 after having come under pressure from abuse survivors

At the time, the German Bishops’ Conference president and Synodal Way leader Bishop Georg Bätzing said he was losing a close companion.

The new bishop-elect is currently serving as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Paderborn, CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported

As a voting member of the German Synodal Way, the German monk has consistently voted in favor of controversial resolutions

According to CNA Deutsch, Meier supported resolutions demanding female deacons and granting women access to the sacramental ministry. He also endorsed regular baptism by laypeople, lay preaching at Mass, and making priestly celibacy optional. 

On issues regarding homosexuality, Meier supported the introduction of blessings for same-sex couples and argued for evaluating access to ordained ministries and pastoral professions for intersex and transgender individuals on a case-by-case basis.

Among other degrees, Meier holds a doctorate and habilitation in canon law and has taught at Vinzenz Palloti University. Meier also served as abbot of Königsmünster Abbey from 2001 to 2013.

Meier will turn 65 in July, giving him roughly 10 years before reaching the mandatory retirement age for bishops. On the news of his appointment, he told Catholics he had spent “two sleepless nights” before accepting the role “with a happy heart.”

Following the public announcement of his appointment Meier will now pledge an oath of allegiance — required by the concordat of 1965 — before the prime minister of the State of Lower Saxony. 

Afterward, the new bishop will be inaugurated in a solemn ceremony in the Cathedral of Osnabrück. Officially, the diocese’s vacancy ends with the inauguration.

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