Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pope consults German archbishop over colleague's spending scandal

Der Limburger Bischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst leitet am 09.09.2013 im Dom in Limburg an der Lahn (Hessen) einen Gottesdienst. Foto: Fredrik von Erichsen/dpa (zu dpa Finanzaffäre um neuen Bischofssitz in Limburg zieht weitere Kreise vom 08.10.2013) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++ ---eingestellt von hazGerman Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of the German Bishops' Conference, met with Pope France on Thursday on the situation in the scandal-ridden Limburg diocese near Frankfurt.

The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has faced intense scrutiny in the German media after estimates put the eventual cost of construction for his new residential complex at 31 million euros ($41.8 million). 

The initial estimate for the renovation was set at 13.5 million euros.

Front-page headlines in Germany prompted the decision for the Bishop of Limburg to accompany Zollitsch on his long-scheduled visit to the Vatican.

The bishop's lavish spending has earned him nicknames in the German press like "the luxury bishop of Limburg" and the "swanky bishop." 

The perceived extravagance flies in the face of the pope's call for the Catholic Church to be "poor and for the poor," and the scandal has prompted keen interest in how the Vatican will act.

The Bishop of Limburg's troubles are twofold: He also faces a fine from a Hamburg court for allegedly providing false testimony in a case he filed against newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which reported he had flown first class to India to visit poor children.

The budget overrun in Limburg has prompted the dioceses of Cologne, Munich, Essen, Hamburg and Speyer to make their finances public.

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