German Catholics "Rebel" against their Bishop

According to these two news reports (both German, no translation available yet), Catholics in and around Frankfurt, Germany are “rebelling” against against their Bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

They are criticising the Bishop for allegedly blowing diocesan money on luxurious living and new offices for the diocese. Last year, the Bishop made headlines in a controversy over an upgrade to a First-Class flight to India. Apparently German authorities are investigating charges made against the Bishop that he had lied about the circumstances under penalty of perjury.

I am still not sure about the First-Clas flight. A great deal of it is a campaign by the leftist SPIEGEL.

As for the “rebellion”, I find it totally unacceptable. If they want to criticise the Bishop for something they perceive to be inappropriate, they should go through proper channels and not openly defy his authority and slander him in the media. Even diocesan priests are joining the cause.

Is there somewhere we can find some context in English? To me the idea of complaining about a bishop flying first class, for example, seems silly. But I assume that it’s happening for a reason.

I can give you the link to an English language article by the same outlet. Bear in mind they VERY rarely report positively on the Church.

This is technically old news. People in his diocese (and else where) were critizising this for some time, and despite the protests he still went ahead with the plans. It’s just starting to make its way through all of Germany now.

Some bishops in that part of the world deserve a rebellion, but over doctrinal issues, not financial trivia. This rebellion is the fruit of the new pontificate. Perhaps Francis will weigh in with a reprimand here. Humility is what he seems most concerned with.

Not really. It is new news if large protests and open letters are published, if priests under his jurisdiction call for his resignation and media has a nutty over all of it.

It happens everywhere.

The Pope has mentioned about the spending of money on luxury cars etc. Happens in my diocese too. Our Bishop has been approached for having 2 new cars, many holidays etc while the diocese is in financial difficulties.

The church is almost certainly full of stories like this and i am sure our Pope is working to make changes. God Bless him

Well, the project that is being criticised is about new administrative buildings. The Bishop’s residence is included in that project. Apparently people think a garden and guest bedrooms and a private chapel for the bishop aren’t appropriate. I really don’t understand the fuss, and from what I’ve seen it’s not like the place is covered in gold or marble.

As for the First Class flight… the controversy surrounded an upgrade that was done from a Business Class ticket on a flight to India. I don’t have a problem with that either, since he is a busy man and his schedule in India was quite tight. He would have to be rested to cope with it, which works quite a bit better in First Class.

I don’t know enough about the specifics to comment directly on this particular diocese’s issues, but the laity certainly have both a right and a responsibility to speak up if the diocese finances are being poorly managed or misspent.

The protests themselves are old. The extent they are now in is new. That’s why I said technically.

What many are upset about is how it costing millions of euros.

Most building projects are expensive. If stuff is not objectionable, is needed, is not overpriced, and the dioceses can afford it, then what is the problem?

There has been quite some development:

*]The Bishop has brought up the matter with His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops and received “the greatest support”.
*]Bishop Tebartz-van Elst allowed an extensive interview on the question of the diocesan building project and public relations in which he admits there have been mistakes and promises to get those sorted out, as well as improve intra-diocesan dialogue.
*]His Excellency has also written a letter to all the diocesan faithful to be read in the churches today, wherein he “commit[s] to answering all questions clearly and directly”, invites all of them to the new centre and a personal meeting with him and requests that charity in all things be maintained.

While all those things have taken place and basically answered all criticisms, the media are still feasting on the matter.

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