The so-called “Bishop of Bling,” German Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has been suspended by Pope Francis and advised to immediately vacate the Diocese of Limburg, says ABC News on Oct. 23. The free-spender is in trouble with the Vatican for his wastrel ways, and Pope Francis, who has preached austerity from day one, has evidently had enough.
“The pope, who has declined to live in the Vatican's opulent papal residence, has been urging prelates to adopt a more humble lifestyle and today's actions were the strongest yet to reinforce that message,” relates ABC News.
At the center of the spendthrift accusations is the bishop’s official residence in Germany. A construction remodeling project is under way, and the costs keep inflating. An estimation of the final bill could be close to $55 million -- $13 million more than what was authorized.
The Vatican’s press office issued a statement, which read in part:
The bishop has created a situation “where in the present moment he cannot exercise his Episcopal ministry... Pending the results of this examination and the related investigations on the responsibilities in this regard, the Holy See considers it appropriate to authorize Bishop Franz -Peter Tebartz-van Elst a period of stay outside the Diocese.”
In other words, don’t let the giant gold encrusted door hit your fine vestments on the way out.
The Bishop of Bling is also under investigation for “false claims in the use of church money for travel to India,” says ABC. Perjury charges could be brought against Tebartz-van Elst after he was questioned and allegedly lied over his use of church funds.
Parishioners of the diocese have been picketing his German residence daily.