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Vatican suspends ‘bishop of bling’ Tebartz-van Elst

Bishop

QuestCinq.com

The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the “bishop of bling” by the media over his alleged lavish spending.

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence.

The Vatican said it deemed “appropriate… a period of leave from the diocese” for the bishop.

The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter.

“A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties”, a Vatican statement said.

It said a Church commission would rule on the matter, but did not say where Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, 53, would go or what he would do while the inquiry was held.

The head of Germany’s main lay Catholic group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, Alois Glueck, welcomed the Vatican’s decision.

Analysis

image of Alan Johnston Alan Johnston BBC News, Rome


When Bishop Tebartz-van Elst flew into Rome last week it was reportedly on a Ryanair flight. Budget travel is perhaps not quite the style of the “bishop of bling”, but it was more appropriate given his mission.

He was here to explain to the Pope his $42m palace renovation job. And waiting for that meeting cannot have been comfortable. Would the Pope mention the bishop’s $20,000 bathtub? Or the $34,000 conference table?

Everybody knows that building projects can get, well, out of hand. But of all the popes, Francis was least likely to be sympathetic.

At the centre of his message has been the need for the Church to connect to the poor and the deprived. Francis has criticised clerics who live too lavishly. He has told them not to live “like princes”, and he has himself chosen to stay in a Vatican guest house rather than move into the very much grander papal apartment.

He said: “Pope Francis’s decision offers the chance of a first step toward a new beginning in the Limburg diocese, because the situation has become an increasing burden for the faithful there, and in all of Germany, over recent weeks.”

Read more:Continue reading the main story

Source:BBC

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