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Pope Francis Temporarily Expels German ‘Bishop Of Bling’ Over Extravagant Spending On Renovations

"Bishop of Bling" temporarily dethroned by Pope Francis
Thomas Lohnes, Getty Images

The man known as the “Bishop of Bling” has been dethroned, at least temporarily.

Pope Francis has temporarily expelled Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst after summoning him to the Vatican on October 22, 2013.

The Associated Press is reporting that Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch, the newly-named vicar general of the diocese of Limburg, will take over leadership duties at the diocese until a final decision about the Bishop’s future is made.

At issue is the validity of renovations at the residence of the bishop’s residence.  Weighing in at more than $31 million euro (about 42 million American dollars) the expenditures were defended by Tebartz-van Elst as necessary to complete more than ten different projects.
Necessary or not, they attracted the attention of Pope Francis, who has been known to be much more frugal than previous papal leaders.  The Pope, opting famously to take the bus instead of the papal limousine when he was officially named as leader of the Catholic Church, apparently has little tolerance for excess.
In a statement, the Vatican said that Tebartz-van Elst “could no longer exercise his episcopal ministry.”
The Bishop said that the high cost of the renovations was caused in part by the historical considerations required of the property located outside of Frankfurt, Germany.  An audit of the spending was ordered after a Vatican monitor visited Limburg, revealing that the renovations ended up costing more than six times what was originally budgeted.
The Bishop was previously quoted as saying that the meeting with the Pope, asserted by all to be confidential, was “heartening.”   He denied wrongdoing but apologized for any “misjudgement.”

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