The newly dubbed “Bishop of Bling,” Limburg’s Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, exits his vintage BMW convertible. Tebartz-van Elst has been suspended for commissioning a $42 million renovation on his mansion.
Since his initiation as a pope, Pope Francis is promoting the idea of the virtues of humility as well as modesty among the fellow clergymen. This recent action of his has confirmed that he preaches what he believes in. Recently one of the Bishops was suspended on the grounds that his residence was lavishly decorated and renovated. The renovations are estimated to be totalling $42 million.
The Bishop of Limburg, 53-year-old Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has reportedly used fixtures which are extremely costly, namely a $20,000 bathtub that was installed. In addition to the extravagant bathroom renovations, there were also rare and high-priced artworks purchased as part of the renovation work.
Subsequently, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has been nicknamed as the “Bishop of Bling” by the local newspaper community. It is also reported that the Pope refused an audience with the bishop initially but after 8 days of making Tebartz-van Elst wait he finally agreed to a meeting with the bishop.
According to the latest news from the officials of the Vatican the Pope has ordered to conduct an audit regarding the matter of the Bishop’s exorbitant spending. In this audit the Bishop will have to disclose all his properties in front of the Vatican officials.
Tebartz-van Elst has been suspended while the investigation takes place.
The lavishness doesn’t stop at the bathtub and artwork. Tebartz-van Elst, according to German media outlets, has a conference table worth $34,000, and the mansion also includes a private chapel which has cost $4 million. The renovations also include private apartments, quarters for nuns, offices and a private museum. Tebartz-van Elst is defending the expenditures, saying the renovations were pricey due to the intricate attention required to renovate a historical building. The architect, Michael Frielinghaus, claims he was told by the Bishop to design a building which would “still be full of dignity in a century” and was given an unlimited budget.
In Germany, the churches do not share their financial statements to the public. Since Christian church members are required to pay 8-10% of their income to the church, this new incident has lead to an outcry, causing four of the main dioceses to open their books for the public review.
It is not yet clear if Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst will be permitted to return to his position after his suspension.
It is now being reported the mansion may be used as a soup kitchen to help the needy.
- Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst on Wikipedia
- “‘Bishop of Bling”s multi-million pound mansion to be used as soup kitchen”