Pope Francis Suspends Germany’s ‘Bishop of Bling’ Following Uproar, Protests
By Stoyan Zaimov | Christian Post Reporter
Pope Francis has suspended German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, nicknamed “the luxury bishop” and the “bishop of bling” by German newspapers, following uproar over revelations that he spent over $42 million on a luxury residence.
“A situation has been created in which Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst currently cannot exercise his episcopal ministry,” the Vatican press office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Pope Francis, who has led as an example of modesty and has called on church leaders to live humbly, has apparently been “continually, broadly and objectively informed” about the situation in the Diocese of Limburg, and has authorized the suspension with immediate effect.
Tebartz-van Elst has spent over $42 million on a lavish remodeling and building project in Limburg, including a free-standing bath, conference table and private chapel worth millions. While he has admitted to “carelessness or misjudgment on my part,” he has denied that he has engaged in any wrong-doing, and tried to explain that the money was spent on 10 different projects and that additional costs built up due to regulations on buildings.
The Bishop’s actions caused an uproar in Germany with top politicians like Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking out about the harm this does to the faithful’s confidence in the Catholic Church in Germany, while people have also joined in protests outside the new residence.
The Central Committee of German Catholics, the country’s main lay Catholic group, has praised the Vatican’s decision, arguing that it creates the space needed to the clear up the situation in Limburg.
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