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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Vatican suspends 'bishop of bling' Tebartz-van Elst

Luxury Catholic Bishop spent fortune on palace

October 21, 2013
A German Catholic bishop faced pressure to resign after it emerged that his new palatial residence would cost 25 million British pounds.
Catholic
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst lives like a Roman emperor.
The cost of the Bishop palace is over six times the original estimate.
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, bishop of Limburg, was investigated by a Vatican envoy last month after protests in his diocese against lavish spending.
The palace of the Bishop of Limburg,
The palace of the Bishop of Limburg is massive,
His luxurious choice of home is at odds with Pope Francis’s shift of the Church’s focus towards simplicity and poverty.
Source: The Daily mail
My comment:
Few children learn in school about the Vatican crimes against humanity, committed prior to the Reformation in 1520 A.D.
Most of the Roman Catholic cathedrals are fruits of forced labor, unpaid slavery and extortion of the people.
The Catholic bishops literally were thief and robbers. On the island where i grew up, only one free farmer stilled owned his own land. These were the “fruits” after 300 years of Catholic tyranny in Norway. The rest of the farmland was owned by the Catholic Church, and a few tugs related to the Danish King’s tax collector.
During the Reformation the Catholic Bishop in Bergen was arrested. In Oslo the Catholic Bishop conveniently converted to Lutheranism, and escaped persecution for his crimes.
Matthew 4:8-9
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.  ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
The robbery of the parishioners money seems to continue in Germany.
But who can blame the Bishop?
When the Germans had a chance to rid them selves of this evil, they rather sided with the papacy against men like Martin Luther.
And what about the Pope?
Is he not living in palaces?
There are still a chance for Roman Catholics in Germany to find peace with God. But they have to renounce this wicked religious system, that makes a mockery of the true faith in Jesus the Messiah.
  John 10:10
 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Written by Ivar

Pope Francis suspends Germany’s ‘bishop of bling’

Limburg Bishop Under Pressure To Resign Following Expenditures Scandal©Getty
The bishop's residence, left, opposite Limburg's Gothic cathedral, is part of a larger complex of new buildings, but is reported to include a €15,000 private bath

A German cleric dubbed in the media as the “bishop of bling” has been suspended from his diocese on the orders of Pope Francis, who intervened this week in a scandal over spending on a multimillion-euro residence.

The Vatican said on Wednesday that Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Bishop of Limburg, was “at this moment not in a position to carry out his episcopal ministry”. He has been told to leave his diocese pending the outcome of an audit into the costs of the project.

Pope Francis received the bishop in the Vatican on Monday, in what was widely seen as a test of the pontiff’s commitment to impose frugality and more transparency on the Roman Catholic church.
Limburg’s vicar-general, Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch, will administer the diocese during the bishop’s “period of time away”, the Vatican said. The statement did not say where the bishop would go or for how long.

“Money destroys. It is useful to carry out many good things, works to support humanity, but when your heart is attached to it, it destroys you,” Pope Francis said at his morning mass on Monday shortly before meeting the bishop.

Bishop Tebartz-van Elst triggered uproar among Germany’s Roman Catholics following reports that he had spent €31m on a palatial residence and community centre, including €15,000 on his own bath tub and €500,000 on works of art.

The 53-year-old bishop is reported to have defended the spending, saying it involved 10 projects and that costs had risen because of regulations on buildings under historical protection. He was appointed Bishop of Limburg in 2008 by the Pope’s German predecessor Benedict XVI, who abdicated in February.
“People who know me know that I don’t need a pompous lifestyle,” the bishop told Bild, a mass circulation daily.

‘It is a decision with which we can live for now. Or at least we can try to live with it.’ Can the bishop return? ‘No. Trust has been completely destroyed’ - Ingeborg Schillai
The stop-gap nature of the pope’s response to the furore in Germany did not appease those who had been calling for the bishop’s dismissal in a country where Roman Catholics pay part of their income tax to the Church.

Ingeborg Schillai, president of an association representing some 650,000 parishioners in the diocese, said: “It is a decision with which we can live for now. Or at least we can try to live with it.” Asked if the bishop could return to his seat, she said: “No. Trust has been completely destroyed.”

A surge in parishioners leaving the church in Limburg has occurred over the past year, meaning they will no longer have to pay the tax which nationwide gave the Roman Catholic church €5.2bn last year.
The bishop has also been accused by German magistrates of lying under oath about a first-class flight he took on a charity visit to India.

 

Vatican suspends 'bishop of bling' Tebartz-van Elst

Residence of Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 17 Oct 13 The bishop's official residence in Limburg has been described as luxurious

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The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the "bishop of bling" by the media over his alleged lavish spending.

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence.

The Vatican said it deemed "appropriate... a period of leave from the diocese" for the bishop.
The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter.

The BBC's Stephen Evans: "Outside the cathedral, people expressed some satisfaction that the bishop had been suspended"

"A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties", a Vatican statement said.

It said a Church commission would rule on the matter, but did not say where Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, 53, would go or what he would do while the inquiry was held.
The head of Germany's main lay Catholic group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, Alois Glueck, welcomed the Vatican's decision.

Analysis

When Bishop Tebartz-van Elst flew into Rome last week it was reportedly on a Ryanair flight. Budget travel is perhaps not quite the style of the "bishop of bling", but it was more appropriate given his mission.
He was here to explain to the Pope his $42m palace renovation job. And waiting for that meeting cannot have been comfortable. Would the Pope mention the bishop's $20,000 bathtub? Or the $34,000 conference table?

Everybody knows that building projects can get, well, out of hand. But of all the popes, Francis was least likely to be sympathetic.

At the centre of his message has been the need for the Church to connect to the poor and the deprived. Francis has criticised clerics who live too lavishly. He has told them not to live "like princes", and he has himself chosen to stay in a Vatican guest house rather than move into the very much grander papal apartment.

He said: "Pope Francis's decision offers the chance of a first step toward a new beginning in the Limburg diocese, because the situation has become an increasing burden for the faithful there, and in all of Germany, over recent weeks."
First-class flight
 
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst - and his spending habits - had become infamous in Germany, where many people pay Church tax to the state. The tax raised 5.2bn euros for Catholics and 4.6bn euros for Protestants in 2012.

Calls were made for the bishop to resign after he was accused of lying under oath about his spending.
He was criticised for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.
But his official residence is at the heart of the criticism, after renovations were originally costed at 5.5m euros.

German media are reporting that the residence was fitted with a bath that cost 15,000 euros, a conference table for 25,000 euros and a private chapel that cost 2.9m euros.
The story has attracted heavy coverage and has stoked controversy among Catholics.

Media round-up

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily calls the Pope's move a "wise decision". "Apparently Limburg marks the start of a process of opening up to scrutiny funds and assets which have been piling up over centuries as a result of endowments and inheritance cases," the paper says.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily feels the Pope has been "merciful" but doubts that the bishop will be allowed to return. "When peace returns to the diocese in Tebartz-van Elst's absence, it is difficult to imagine that this peace should subsequently be put at risk again," it says.

The news magazine Der Spiegel says many in the Church are finding it difficult to understand the Vatican's decision. The weekly quotes a local Church worker who "sighed heavily" at the news and asked: "Is it really true that the suspended bishop will be able to come back here, to Limburg?"
It was in Germany that Martin Luther launched the Reformation five centuries ago in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the Church.

The BBC's Alan Johnston, in Rome, says all this was bound to play badly with the new Pope, who has repeatedly expressed his disapproval of senior clerics whose lifestyles seem a little too lavish.
Pope Francis has also signalled his intention to clean up the Vatican's finances, appointing a commission to advise him on reforms.

There is no surprise in Rome that the Vatican has ordered the bishop's suspension from his duties while the spending row is investigated, our correspondent adds.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is the daughter of a Protestant pastor, said that she had expressed "hope that there will be an answer for believers, for people's confidence in their Church".

In his absence, the bishop's diocese will be administered by Limburg's vicar general, Wolfgang Roesch.