— The Local/Rosie (@TheLocalItaly) March 26, 2014
The so-called Bishop of Bling — Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst — has been removed from his position as Bishop of Limburg after an ongoing controversy over his lavish lifestyle.
The Vatican today accepted the resignation of the German religious leader, who was criticized for living in stark contrast to his vow of poverty.
Here’s what you need to know about the bishop and his fall from grace.
1. He’s Called the ‘Bishop of Bling’
— WorldNewsToday (@NewsWorldToday_) March 26, 2014
The international media has bestowed this nickname on the German bishop whose monetary habits caused investigation.
This excess spending bothers Germans, who have to pay a church tax. According to ABC News, that tax earns billions each year for the church.
He came under fire last year for flying first class to visit slums in India and then lying about it under oath.
The irony of having this man in office is the fact that Pope Francis, his superior, lives such a humble lifestyle.
2. He Has a $43 Million Home
— Yahoo (@Yahoo) March 26, 2014
overspending on his home renovation by 800 percent, including a $20,000 bathtub, $620,000 worth of artwork and $1.1 million in landscaping.
The house is in the ancient town of Limburg in central Hesse state. Business Insider wrote that it included a museum, conference halls, a chapel and private apartments.
According to the Guardian, Tebartz-van Elst said that the bill was actually for 10 projects, and there were extra costs because the buildings were under historical protection.
Residents hope to put a positive spin on the situation by turning the building into something worthwhile.
The Independent reported that the house could be be transformed into a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
A spokesman for the Caritas organization for the homeless told the paper:
The residence is like an inherited sin which the bishop has left in his wake. People who seek sanctuary with us could be given food in the residence.
3. He Originally Resigned in October
BRAVO – OUT GOES BISHOP BLING pic.twitter.com/jrleqewMHm
— Pam (@mortgageconsult) March 26, 2014
On October 20, as the Pope was looking into his financial situation, the bishop resigned.
Instead of accepting the resignation, the Pope put him on an indefinite leave, saying, “A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties.”
4. He Will Get a New Job
The diocese said that the bishop will get a new job “at the opportune time.”
Pope Francis sent this telling tweet today:
We cannot be tepid disciples. The Church needs our courage in order to give witness to truth.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 25, 2014
5. An Auxiliary Bishop Will Replace Him
Monsignor Manfred Grothe will be taking over.
According to Business Insider, this situation will bring about some changes in the Catholic Church:
The scandal sparked calls for greater transparency in Catholic Church finances, a reform aim of the new pope who has called for a “poor Church for the poor”.