• 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
Germany's estate agents plan strike action
Photo: DPA

Germany's estate agents plan strike action

First it was the pilots, then train drivers - now Germany's real estate agents are threatening to go on strike. But their call to arms has been met with sneers rather than sympathy. READ  

Finger slicer's insurance scam fails
Ralf-Werner arriving in court last week. Photo: DPA

Finger slicer's insurance scam fails

An insurance salesman who sawed off his own finger and thumb to claim insurance was given a suspended sentence by a court in northern Germany on Friday. READ  

PKK: banned in Germany, allies in Iraq
Kurdish demonstrators at a rally in Düsseldorf in October. Photo: DPA

PKK: banned in Germany, allies in Iraq

Germany finds itself in a complicated relationship with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). At home, police must investigate anyone who flies the flag, but in the Middle East they are the best hope of beating back the Islamic State. READ  

Quiz
Will our Halloween quiz give you a fright?
Walpurgis Night in the Harz. Photo: DPA

Will our Halloween quiz give you a fright?

Germany is home to a plethora of haunted castles and has a huge stock of gruesome stories. How well do you know the spooky side of the Germans? READ  

Retail sales show biggest drop for seven years
Photo: DPA

Retail sales show biggest drop for seven years

German shoppers cut back on their spending in September at the fastest rate for seven years, official data showed on Friday. READ  

Fall of the Wall - 25 years
'I'm leaving for the West, who's coming?'
Engels at the spot where he drove through the Wall and in hospital in 1963 after being shot. Photo: Nick Allen/Fotoarchiv Alex Waidmann Berlin

'I'm leaving for the West, who's coming?'

There are many of tales of ingenious and well-thought out escape plans from people desperate to flee from East to West Berlin. Wolfgang Engels’ wasn’t one of them. It was, however, one of the most daring. READ  

Police probe pupils who made Nazi salutes
Pupils used WhatsApp to share messages which are police are investigating. Photo: DPA

Police probe pupils who made Nazi salutes

Police are investigating pupils at a school in Saxony-Anhalt for incitement of the people and use of banned symbols after teenagers allegedly made the Hitler salute. READ  

Time running out for refugees in Berlin school
Representatives of the refugees at a press conference last week. Photo: DPA

Time running out for refugees in Berlin school

An ultimatum for the remaining refugees and their supporters to leave an occupied school in Berlin, which has been the scene of protests for months, will expire at midnight on Friday. READ  

EU promises support for Ukraine gas deal
Photo: DPA

EU promises support for Ukraine gas deal

The European Union will "fully play its role" to implement the gas deal signed by Ukraine and Russia on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement. READ  

Body scanners to come to more airports
Photo: DPA

Body scanners to come to more airports

Passengers at German airports can expect a controversial full body scan in the future. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Want to study in Germany? These are the subjects to choose
Photo: DPA
Society
Germans are wide of the mark on immigration
Photo: DPA
Society
Halloween: Where are the spookiest spots?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Who wants to work in Germany? A third of the world
Photo: DPA
Society
'We can't allow a proxy war on German streets'
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: How well do you know Germany?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,534
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd