• 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
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
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

3,522
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd