• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Catholics reject return of 'bling bishop'

AFP/The Local · 18 Nov 2013, 12:33

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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 news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd