Pope Francis has asked German bishop Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg to leave his post since the cost of his personal mansion have gone public. The bishop had been suspended in October pending investigation.
According to the Guardian, Tebartz-van Elst’s construction and renovation project cost the equivalent of about $41.3 million, 10 times over the original estimate. Members of the bishop’s diocese have referred to Tebartz-van Elst as the “bishop of bling.”
The bishop first claimed to be baffled by the price reports the Guardian, but now defends the costs, saying that expenditures went up due to historical protection of the buildings.
Still, the bishop Tebartz-van Elst faced a wave of public criticism; a tax provides the church with billions of dollars per year, likely the source of income for the project.
Upon investigation, the Vatican concluded Tebartz-van Elst should no longer serve as a minister of the Catholic church. Monsignor Manfred Grothe of Paderborn will be filling the position.
Pope Francis is now encouraging Catholic priests and bishops to serve as models for the church that “is poor, and is for the poor.”
Tebartz-van Elst will receive a new position sometime in the future.