Skip to main content

Vatican suspends German bishop amid spending investigation

By CNN Staff
October 23, 2013 -- Updated 2056 GMT (0456 HKT)
German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst speaks at Limburg Cathedral in Limburg, Germany, in August 2012. Coined the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-van Elst has been suspended from his position while he is under investigation for spending $42 million on renovations to his residence. German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst speaks at Limburg Cathedral in Limburg, Germany, in August 2012. Coined the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-van Elst has been suspended from his position while he is under investigation for spending $42 million on renovations to his residence.
HIDE CAPTION
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Germany's Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has been called the "Bling Bishop"
  • The bishop's residence in Limburg, Germany, underwent a $42 million renovation
  • The Vatican says the bishop must stay outside his diocese during the investigation

(CNN) -- The Vatican said Wednesday it has suspended a German bishop who has come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is under investigation for his spending after his residence in Limburg, Germany, was renovated for $42 million.

The Vatican says Tebartz-van Elst cannot carry out his ministry as long as the investigation in ongoing, and he's been ordered to stay outside his diocese.

Called the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-van Elst, who is known as theologically conservative, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the cost overruns on the renovation are legitimate because surrounding structures had to be protected, including the old city wall.

Germany's luxury Bishop
Vatican not happy with 'Bling Bishop'

But many people in Limburg and elsewhere want the bishop to step down.

"He built his office on lies," said Limburg resident Patrick Dehm. "This must come to an end. The diocese doesn't deserve this."

For papal biographer Marco Politi it's not that simple. "The Pope is sending Bishop Tebartz-van Elst into exile for two months," he told CNN affiliate RTL. "That is indeed a punishment, but a lot now depends on what the investigating committee will say."

Some German media have come down hard on the bishop, with Der Spiegel criticizing him for taking a first-class flight to India, where he visited with the poor. Tebartz-van Elst said that he had gotten an upgrade and that he's no fan of champagne or caviar.

For his latest trip to the Vatican, he reportedly flew on a budget airline.

Pope Francis shuns luxury apartment

CNN's Richard Greene, Diana Magnay and Susanna Capelouto contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT