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Pope replaces German 'bling bishop' after inquiry

Vatican Accepts Resignation of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis on Wednesday permanently removed a German bishop from his Limburg diocese after his 31 million-euro ($43-million) new residence complex caused an uproar among the faithful.

Francis had temporarily expelled Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October pending a church inquiry.

At the center of the controversy was the price tag for the construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations. Tebartz-van Elst defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and there were additional costs because the buildings were under historical protection.

Germany Vatican Bishop Spending

But in a country where Martin Luther launched the Reformation five centuries ago in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the church, the outcry was enormous. The perceived lack of financial transparency also struck a chord since a church tax in Germany brings in billions a year to the German church.

The Vatican said Wednesday that the inquiry into the renovation found that Tebartz-van Elst could no longer exercise his ministry and that Francis had accepted his resignation, which was originally offered Oct. 20.

A replacement, Monsignor Manfred Grothe, currently an auxiliary bishop in Paderborn, will take over, the Vatican said, citing a statement from the diocese.

It said Tebartz-van Elst would get a new job "at the opportune time."

It added that the pope hoped that the faithful of Limburg would accept the decision with "docility and willingness to rediscover a climate of charity and reconciliation."

While the then-head of the German bishops' conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, had been particularly blunt in his criticism of the bishop, Tebartz-van Elst had his defenders in Rome, which could explain the Vatican's decision to give him a second chance with a new job.

Francis has called on his priests and bishops to be models of sobriety in a church that "is poor and is for the poor."

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Robert March 26 2014 at 11:55 PM

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'...........robert allen zimmerman and Jesus HS Christ

I love this Pope......you have to love a man who practices what his Master teaches - Matthew 19: 16-28. A whole lot of you right-wing, so-called christians might want to re-read that little passage. Jesus isn't saying there is anything wrong with being rich; it is what you choose to do with it that is meaningful...for those who put themselves first now, will be last in Heaven; that Heaven, immortality, perfection, that eternity with God, peace, love and eternal happiness--- that is the dream and promise of christianity, correct? What about that Olsteen guy who lives a $10.5 million dollar house while people live under bridges short miles from his palatial digs have to say? That God wants him to be rich? Ask yourself, Is this what his Jesus would do? No, not mine either..... beware of false profits, share what abundance the Lord has given you, and live for each other, rather than yourself.

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2 replies
clwgeorgetownlaw Robert March 27 2014 at 12:32 AM

My house is in a pretty nice neighborhood and it is always an eye-opener when I drive by the area churches in my under 20k corolla during services and see the rows & rows of $50, 000++ cars in the lot. Maybe they should drive a camry and give some money to those who really need it? If you give money to the church it's not getting to the poor.

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orion15stars Robert March 27 2014 at 1:23 AM

The current pope has denounced his Vatican residence and all its obscene material wealth, and is now wandering the countryside on foot hoping the kindness of strangers will save him from starvation and nature's harsh elements? If so, when did that happen?

Your biblical Jesus had a great deal negative to say about accumulating materialism. Don't you religionists ever read your own bible? Or is problem that it's written in so much poetic license it isn't comprehensible to the average religionist?

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Fred & Linda March 27 2014 at 12:44 AM

What could that 43 million do for the poor? One reason I left the Catholic Religion was because of the waste on robes and jewels and ornaments.

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1 reply
dickbambam Fred & Linda March 27 2014 at 1:14 AM

When I was asked to show my tax return to verify my tithing is when I became a Baptist

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1 reply
aljoramaggio dickbambam March 27 2014 at 12:19 PM

No such thing was ever done - because the RCC does not tithe.
Never has, never will.
Certain Protestent Churches tithe, but in Catholicism the donations are not from the top (tithing), but from excess.
Your bluff has been called.

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nelso53 March 26 2014 at 3:56 PM

To think some have had the nerve to challenge this new Pope. This is the first leader since John Paul who even rivals John Paul with solid innovation and a commitment to change. The Church has been infiltrated by criminals and impostors who have abandoned poverty, chastity, obedience, and frankly even perversion. I hope he squeezes a refund out of this bogus Bishop before kicking him out the front door of the cathedral. This denomination was never perfect, (and no denomination is) but some bad players have really magnified the negative image that threatens to ruin its reputation forever.

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pacovio March 26 2014 at 9:44 PM

he should not get a job with the church anymore,the abuses have to be stopped as well as prists that are child abusers

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anneandbill2 March 26 2014 at 4:12 PM

There's a Bishop in New Jersey that should be thrown out, also, for the same reason. Hope he's next. Good job, Francis!

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David March 26 2014 at 4:28 PM

As someone else has already said, 43 million buys a great deal more than that expensive looking house. I feel sorry for Pope Francis. What can he possibly do in maybe 20 years to apply justice where there has been no justice in the world of the Catholic Church. With that being said, I believe Pope Francis is a giant who is doing all that he can to lead the Church in a way of service rather than a way of power.
I wish he would send Cardinal Law back to the U. S. so that he could face the Legal System here. As Cardinal here he passed numerous sex offender priests from one parish to another, where repeated such behavior once again. When this was discovered rather then go to the legal system here in the US, he was transferred to a "kushy" job within Vatican city, where he can not be deported without the intervention of the Pope. And now, "Cardinal Sean," his unpopular successor is on a committee to look into the priestly sex molestation events, which devastated the lives of unimaginable children. Not a good start. At least, if there is a God, it did not allow "Sean" to become Pope. All of this did not happen before Pope Francis became the Pope. Enough, enough. I obviously have lots of opinions. These are just a few. If you are now tired of reading, I am tired of writing.

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2 replies
rnsreports David March 26 2014 at 4:36 PM

Perhaps Cardinal Law could have been more aptly named 'Cardinal Sin.'

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mfg.mojave David March 26 2014 at 4:53 PM

Are you also aware of the fact that various protestant faiths have done what Law did and are just as guilty? Maybe your call for justice should not be limited to just the Catholic Church.

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ajboxer1337 March 26 2014 at 4:36 PM

i am a catholic love and believe in god but its things like this that drove me away from the church,
i am just sick of these's guys

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cdm1012 March 26 2014 at 4:37 PM

Good Riddance!

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victoriacoventry March 26 2014 at 4:37 PM

$43 million for THAT house? Wow! Looks like someone got ripped off and definitely overpaid! LOL

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1 reply
Bernie victoriacoventry March 26 2014 at 4:50 PM

my guess is we’re just looking at the 1st mil….. the other 42 is inside… and I have to wonder just how much of that he’ll be trying to take with him as he moves out…….

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1 reply
Mimi Bernie March 26 2014 at 5:00 PM

I know....maybe they need to garnish his wages at his next job to start getting paid back.

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lov2elkhnt March 26 2014 at 4:48 PM

Good call Pope Francis, Bish Franz was more into the golden calf than the Commandment tablets.

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