'Bling bishop' to live in €31m HQ until job found
Germany’s ‘bling bishop’, who made headlines around the world for blowing €31 million on his headquarters, will be given a new job abroad, according to reports on Thursday. Meanwhile, he is still living in his controversial residence.
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was suspended as Bishop of Limburg in central Germany by the Pope in October last year, after details of the project’s costs emerged, which included €350,000 spent on wardrobes.
But despite causing outrage at splashing out €213,000 on a fish tank and €20,000 on light switches, Tebartz-van Elst is still living in his lavish residence.
The diocese has so far failed to answer The Local’s questions about the bishop’s living arrangements, but a spokesman told Catholic news agency KNA last week that the 54-year-old had been living temporarily in the €31-million headquarters for weeks. The spokesman refused to give details of how much rent or costs, if any, Tebart-van Elst was paying.
The disgraced bishop resigned in March and is expected to stay in the Limburg residence until the Church finds a new job for him. The Frankfurter Neue Presse reported on Thursday that the College of Bishops in Rome is trying to find a role for him abroad, believing he has no future in Germany.
“The new job will not be in a German-speaking country,” priest Wolfgang Rösch told the paper. He said in the meantime that the diocese couldn't just "throw him [Tebartz-van Elst] out". The paper also claimed the bishop was not paying any rent, but was contributing towards running costs.
Rösch said it would take a while to appoint a replacement for the bishop.
Undeterred by the explosive building costs, the diocese is also starting a new building project. It plans to revamp the seminary for €5 million.