• Germany's news in English

'Lavish' bishop flies Ryanair for Pope talks

The Local · 14 Oct 2013, 12:16

Published: 14 Oct 2013 12:16 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has splashed out €15,000 on a bath tub, €738,000 on a garden and €25,000 on a conference table at his new residence in western Germany, angering the public and press and attracting the attention of Pope Francis.

And Chancellor Angela Merkel has also entered the debate over the controversial bishop.

Speaking in Berlin on Monday, her spokesman Steffen Seibert described the affair as a “great strain” on the Catholic Church. He added that he hoped the Vatican would find a solution for the good of Catholics.

Pope Francis has brought a more modest style of leadership to the Catholic Church, calling for a "poor Church for the poor". But the bishop’s extravagance has brought criticism from all corners that the church is out of touch.

On Sunday he showed that he too could forgo luxury when he boarded the 6.35am Ryanair flight from Frankfurt-Hahn airport to Rome where his future will be decided, the Bild newspaper reported.

He will have to explain how he has spent €31 million of church money on his headquarters next to Limburg cathedral when the original estimate was €3 million. According to newspaper the Welt am Sonntag the costs could be even higher, reaching €40 million.

CLICK HERE for photos of the Bishop of Limburg's €31-million project

He will meet the head of the Catholic Church in Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch while in Rome. Zollitsch criticized the bishop and said he would also meet the pope this week to discuss the scandal, saying it should not remain "without consequences".

"This weighs on us," Zollitsch told reporters. He added that the bishop should respond "with a spirit of self-critcism".

The financial committee of the diocese claims their members were left in the dark about the spending in Limburg. Costs on the residence escalated as churches closed in the area.

The chairman of the administrative council in one parish in the bishop’s diocese, Benno Hofmann, told the Welt am Sonntag the bishop was “living 300 years too late”. “Our bishop has no sense that what he has done is wrong,” he said.

The 53 year-old is also accused of lying under oath and taking first class fights to visit the poor in India last year.

A statement from the diocese said: "The bishop has made it clear that any decision about his service as a bishop lies in the hands of the Holy Father [Pope Francis].

"The bishop is saddened by the escalation of the current discussion. He sees and regrets that many believers are suffering under the current situation."

READ MORE: Catholic bishop spends €350,000 on wardrobes

Story continues below…

The Local/tsb

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd