Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 'Bishop of Bling,' Removed by Pope

Image: Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 'Bishop of Bling,' Removed by Pope

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 04:56 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the German bishop "Bishop of Bling" who spent $43 million on his residential complex in Limburg, was removed from office Wednesday by Pope Francis after a church inquiry was completed.

Tebartz-van Elst had been temporarily removed from his position in October after a public outcry over the high expenditures. The bishop had said the construction and renovation expenses were so high because there were 10 projects and many had to be adapted to meet historical protection requirements.

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Tebartz-van Elst had offered his resignation in October, and Pope Francis accepted it Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the bishop overspent the budget by 800 percent on items that included a $20,000 bathtub and $1.1 million for landscaping.

Parishioners were extremely upset by the bishop’s actions and expenditures. Germany has a church tax that pays billions of dollars to the church each year.

As the situation was investigated, Tebartz-van Elst also paid $27,000 in a court case where he was accused of lying under oath about a trip he took to minister to the needy in India, during which he flew first class, the Times said.

Monsignor Manfred Grothe will take over the bishop’s position. The church announced that Tebartz-van Elst will be given a new position “at the opportune time,” the AP said.

The AP quoted a statement from the diocese that said the pope hoped parishioners in Limburg would face the decision with “docility and willingness to rediscover a climate of charity and reconciliation.”

Online, the resignation of Tebartz-van Elst was met with approval:

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