German Diocese Tells 'Bling Bishop': Don't Come Back

Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 05:34 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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A German cleric dubbed the "bling bishop" for his luxury lifestyle is unlikely to return to his diocese after Catholics in the area said he should not come back.
 
A German diocesan assembly has ruled that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had so gravely damaged his relationship with congregants that a new start seemed impossible, the Local newspaper reported Monday.
 
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In the wake of the ruling, it appears unlikely that Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg, will return to his diocese.
 
Tebartz-van Elst, nicknamed the “bling bishop” by detractors, came under fire for spending 31 million euros (about $42 million) on a new headquarters in western Germany, with 783,000 euros (more than $1 million) being spent on a garden.
 
He was suspended in late October by Pope Francis for an unspecified period. German media outlets had reported that he would be able to return to his post in approximately three months.
 
But at a weekend meeting, his fellow bishops seemed to rule out any return, saying in a statement that his conduct had compelled Catholics “to justify their involvement with the diocese of Limburg, as they were made responsible for decisions, in which they were not involved in any way," according to the Local.
 
On Monday, it was reported that Tebartz-van Elst paid 20,000 euros to settle a court case with the weekly newspaper Der Spiegel.
 
The paper reported that Tebartz-van Elst, 53, denied in sworn testimony flying business class to visit slum dwellers in India. But a reporter had videotaped the bishop saying that he had done so.
 
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