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Pope Francis on Saturday accepted a resignation request from a German bishop who asked to step down because of his mistakes in handling sexual abuse cases.  Franz-Josef Bode became the bishop of Osnabrueck, Germany, in 1995. He said in a personal statement that his decision to resign “has matured in me in recent months” and he hoped it would have a liberating effect on the diocese. Bode explained that an interim report released in September had revealed his errors. He acknowledged his responsibility as a bishop and said, “Today, I can only ask all those affected again for forgiveness.” The German Bishops' Conference said Francis accepted Bode's resignation on Saturday.