• Germany edition
 
Catholics reject return of 'bling bishop'
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst. Photo: DPA

Catholics reject return of 'bling bishop'

Published: 18 Nov 2013 12:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Nov 2013 12:33 GMT+01:00

An assembly of the diocese of Limburg decided on Saturday that their bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had "so damaged" the relationship of trust between him and his congregation, that his return "did not seem possible".

Tebartz-van Elst became the subject of severe criticism for spending €31 million on a new headquarters in western Germany with €783,000 going on a garden, €25,000 on a table and €15,000 on a bath tub.

CLICK HERE or a gallery of the project

The Vatican suspended the bishop in late October after he flew to Rome on low-cost airline, Ryanair, to explain himself to Pope Francis following allegations he also took an expensive flight to India and squandered money.

Although the Vatican did not say how long the disgraced bishop would have to stay away, German media had reported it would be around three months, after which he would return to his duties.

However, at the meeting on Saturday his fellow bishops spoke of their "shock" at the situation the diocese had found itself in and said a new beginning did not seem possible.

"Committed Catholics found themselves confronted with the need to justify their involvement with the diocese of Limburg, as they were made responsible for decisions, in which they were not involved in any way," said the diocese in a statement released on Sunday.

The diocese said in order to gain back trust and credibility there would need to be transparent information and a careful examination of events surrounding the construction of the bishop's residence and headquarters.

President of the Diocesan Assembly, Ingeborg Schillai, urged believers not to draw back, but to involve themselves further in the diocese and the dissemination of the gospel. 

On Monday, meanwhile, Tebartz-van Elst has settled a court case over lying under oath with a €20,000 payment.

The legal headache he faced centred on a tussle with Hamburg-based newsweekly Der Spiegel, which had reported that he flew first class to visit slum dwellers in India.

Tebartz-van Elst, 53, had later told a Spiegel journalist that "we flewbusiness class" but then in sworn testimony denied having said those words.

However, the reporter had videotaped the bishop making the comment.

The Hamburg court said the state treasury had received the €20,000 payment and, with the consent of prosecutors, closed the case.

The bishop has meanwhile stayed out of the public eye since the pope sent him on leave from the diocese on October 23rd.

READ MORE: 'Bling bishop' takes refuge in abbey

Louise Osborne

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
View from Germany
Refugee photo shocks and shames Germany
Photo: DPA/Police

Refugee photo shocks and shames Germany

A photo appearing to show a refugee being abused at a home for asylum seekers has caused outrage in Germany. The photo has been compared to those from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Police are now investigating six cases of abuse at three different centres. READ  

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

Lufthansa pilots start Frankfurt strike
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots start Frankfurt strike

The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. READ  

EU may drop Russian gas, Merkel warns
Chancellor Merkel with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb in Berlin on Monday. Photo: DPA

EU may drop Russian gas, Merkel warns

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany and Europe may have to review their energy cooperation with Russia in the long-term if the Ukraine standoff does not abate. READ  

3,000 refugees arrive at Munich station
Munich's Hauptbahnhof. Photo: DPA

3,000 refugees arrive at Munich station

More than 3,000 refugees, including hundreds of children, have arrived at Munich’s central train station over the past few weeks, according to police. READ  

Deutsche Bahn freezes most ticket prices
Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn freezes most ticket prices

Germany’s train operator Deutsche Bahn on Monday attempted to take the fight to cheap coach services, which have eaten into its market share, by freezing the price of second class tickets. READ  

Bavarian independence becomes reality online
Christian Söder at the Los Angeles headquarters of ICANN in April. Photo: DPA

Bavarian independence becomes reality online

Starting on Tuesday, people and businesses in Bavaria will be able to use web addresses with the domain .bayern, ending the Free State's online subjection to the Federal Republic of Germany. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Munich
Brit raped at Oktoberfest while going to toilet
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germans look to UK to liven up Parliament
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
How to become an au pair in Germany
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,154
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd