On Wednesday, German bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, aka the "bishop of bling" was temporarily expelled from the Pope's diocese pending the result of a church inquiry into his lavish 31 million-euro ($42 million) residence. The German church is currently carrying out an investigation into his role in the multi-million dollar home construction.
There has been no word from the Vatican regarding how long Bishop Tebartz-van Elst would be away for the diocese of Limburg. Rev. Wolfgang Roesch was scheduled to start in his new role as vicar general of Limburg on Jan. 1st but had to start working immediately in the absence of the bishop. The Vatican did, however, confirm that Bishop Tebartz-van Elst was not yet permanently removed, though fellow bishops of the diocese were doubtful that he would be allowed to return.
Doubt was also expressed by the dean of the cathedral chapter, Guenther Geis, who said "This is a crisis of confidence that will be hard to overcome."
The cause of all the controversy stems from the exorbitant cost of the bishop's residential complex. Tebartz-van Elst's explanation for the cost was that the $42 million sum was actually spent on 10 different projects and some of the costs went into historic preservation of the buildings.
The bishop was reported to have spent excessively on a number of other things, including: first class airline flights, a $475, 000 closet, a $20, 000 bathtub and he even spent money on a heated roof for his $4 million private chapel. This is in stark contrast to Pope Francis' lifestyle. The Pope has chosen to trade in many of his Papal luxuries. He chose to drive his own car-- a very modest 1984 Renault, and even pay his own hotel bills.
The German public is out-raged by the alleged behavior or the bishop, and the general consensus is that he should be removed permanently. In August and September, over 4,000 people signed an open letter to the bishop criticizing his leadership style for being too authoritarian.
(photo via catholic.org)
source: Huffington Post