The Vatican announced Wednesday that the resignation of embattled Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had been accepted. Pope Francis had temporarily expelled the German bishop from his diocese back in October, due to his $42.7 million project to build a new residence. The Pope had initially refused to completely remove Tebartz-van Elst from his post in Limburg, though many associated with the Holy See had called for it.
In a statement, The Vatican Press office to the administration said that the Congregation for Bishops has “carefully studied the report of the Commission requested by the Bishop and by the Cathedral Chapter, to undertake thorough investigations about the responsibilities involved in the construction of the Diocesan Centre ‘St. Nikolaus.'" Once Pope Francis had the report in hand, he'd accepted Tebartz-van Elst's resignation.
The Vatican has said that the Limburg bishop had resigned from his post on October, 20 2013, and has since appointed a sede vacante Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Manfred Grothe, to hold things down in the interim.
Tebartz-van Elst is no stranger to controversy. He’d been criticized by local priests after recalling the dean of Wetzlar for blessing a homosexual couple in 2008. Tebartz-van Elst also attempted to suppress media reports of a first-class flight to India after he’d upgraded it in 2012. The cagey bishop was appointed on November 28, 2007, by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Vatican went on to say that diocese of Limburg has fallen into a "situation that prevents a fruitful exercise of the ministry of Bishop Franz -Peter Tebartz-van Elst.” Though, the bishop will eventually be transferred. The press office added, “In due course (Tebartz-van Elst) will receive another assignment.”
Pope Francis is known for his affinity towards a more toned-down mode of papal living – he’s moved into a Vatican guesthouse, and doesn’t ride around in a tricked-out Mercedes popemobile. During a recent trip to Brazil, he was driven in a Fiat, and has been seen in Fords and Volkswagons. Clearly Tebartz-van Elst’s actions have been seriously frowned upon.
Image via Wikimedia Commons