Oh don’t you worry. German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg has not been in dire straits. In fact, quite the opposite. He’s the Bishop of Bling.
Pope Francis suspended the bishop pending an audit of his expenditures after a recent $42 million renovation to Tebartz van Elst’s residence which included a $20 bathtub, $34,000 conference table and a $4 million chapel. A $20,000 bathtub? Guilt much? Yeah…he’s soaking in it.
After reportedly waiting eight days for an audience with Pope Francis, who has himself led a life of modesty and humility, the prodigal Bishop was put on leave.
Tebartz van Elst defends the excessive spending claiming that the bill covered 10 projects in total and that additional costs were attributed to regulations on buildings under historical protection. The building houses offices, private apartments, private nuns’ quarters and a museum.
Germany’s main lay Catholic group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, praised the pope’s decision and the German bishops’ conference will investigate.
German Christian taxpayers are required to pay 8% – 10% of their income to support the church’s operations and although the church was not required to disclose the books, four main dioceses made them public in response to outcry over the recent revelations.
“To those I have hurt or disappointed, I beg for forgiveness and indulgence,” Tebartz-van Elst said in a sermon which was video taped. I think he’s already got the indulgence covered, thank you very much.
Two more big thumbs up for Pope Francis for doing the right thing once again in calling for important changes in the church. He has already made surprising and ground breaking statements concerning the gay community, the inclusion of women in the church with respect to important decision making and what he calls “the small minded rules” of the church. In a time when the Catholic church is losing many of its members, this is a pope who stands a chance of instituting some real change.
photos: the guarudian, yahoo news