Pope expels German 'luxury bishop'


  • OCTOBER 2013

Pope Francis has removed a German bishop from his diocese because of a scandal over a £26 million project to build a new residence and related renovations.

The Vatican did not say if Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst would permanently leave the diocese of Limburg. But it said Limberg’s newly named vicar general, Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch, would administer the diocese during his “period of time away.”

It said the situation in the diocese had become such that the bishop “could no longer exercise his episcopal ministry.”

The decision was taken after Bishop Tebartz-van Elst met Francis on Monday.*

Wow! That was fast.

Kinda destroys the myth that the Vatican works slowly.

Summarizing the german news I would say that the pope’s decision can be seen as a little success for the bishop.

Vicar general Roesch is used to fill in for van Elst as part of his regular tasks when the bishop is absent. No administrator was sent from Rome as the “prosecutors” claimed.

However, bishop van Elst semmed to be satisfied about the meeting with the pope and he is still in charge of the diocese.

The attacks were initiated by an anticlerical lobby. They don’t deal with finances they deal with the church overall. And I guess the pope got clear about that :thumbsup:

The Vatican has a centuries-old and well-deserved reputation for working slowly. Not a myth. But then there’s Papa Francis…

Good for him. Reading about the scandal this man caused his flock was very upsetting. I thought, here’s more ammo for the atheist and those who like to kick the church around. I will walk with my head held high and an extra spring in my step, today

How does one send congratulations to his Holiness:)

This Bishop must be excommunicated, ´cause he is a Apostate. In this Diocese are lots of leavings the Church.

All news sources are reporting that he has been suspended, so I don’t know from whence you’re getting your information . Can you cite your source, please?

Furthermore, how can you blame anticlericalism for this man’s problems.

The cost of new construction and renovation of the building complex in Limburg that includes Tebartz-van Elst’s residence ballooned to 31 million euros, according to a diocese auditing committee’s statement on Oct. 7, compared with initial estimates of about 5.5 million euros.


Unless this complex included a hospital, a homeless shelter and a food kitchen, it’s an exercise in megalomania.

Please try to stay fair. The project managegement for the new residence was a disater. The new bishop is responsible but his popular predecessor who initiated the project alike.

The press spread lots of myths about van Elst and his supposed vanity. Lot’s of them aren’t true. I just think about the story about his 15k-Euro tub. He experienced a lot of injustice.

We should be careful since we don’t know the details. Let’s trust the pope and I’m sure he wouldn’t blame van Elst to be an apostate.

Despite a bad project management there is a war against the bishop by the press. The newspapers have written countelss lies.

One could read the things that happen in that way: kath.net/news/43386. Or by google translator: translate.google.de/#de/en/Wolfgang%20R%C3%B6sch%20%28Foto%29%2C%20Stadtdekan%20von%20Wiesbaden%20und%20enger%20Vertrauter%20von%20Bischof%20Tebartz-van-Elst%2C%20ist%20heute%20Mittag%20zum%20p%C3%A4pstlichen%20Delegaten%20f%C3%BCr%20das%20Bistum%20Limburg%20ernannt%20worden.%20Dies%20teilte%20der%20Vatikan%20am%20Mittwoch%20zu%20Mittag%20mit.%20Bischof%20Tebartz-van-Elst%20bleibt%20allerdings%20weiterhin%20im%20Amt%2C%20wird%20aber%20vorl%C3%A4ufig%20%22freigestellt%22.%20Dadurch%20verliert%20er%20keine%20Rechte%20und%20kann%20jederzeit%20wieder%20zur%C3%BCckkehren.%20F%C3%BCr%20r%C3%B6mische%20Beobachter%20steht%20damit%20fest%2C%20dass%20Papst%20Franziskus%20sich%20klar%20hinter%20Tebartz-van-Elst%20stellt%2C%20den%20Bischof%20jetzt%20aber%20etwas%20aus%20der%20medialen%20Schusslinie%20nehmen%20m%C3%B6chte.%20Offensichtlich%20wurde%20hier%20eine%20%22pragmatische%2C%20kreative%22%20L%C3%B6sung%20f%C3%BCr%20ein%20%22Problem%22%20gesucht%20und%20die%20besondere%20%22pastorale%20Sorge%22%20des%20Papstes%20betont.%0A%0AW

Maybe it was that fast because Pope Francis is the figure head of poverty and humility and this bishop showing himself to be the one reminder of the Vatican’s past.

Um, via Tweet?? :smiley:

I love this new Pope! :thumbsup:

Here’s a link from Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC


They love to hate the Church, so I’m not sure if they are trying to say something good about the Pope or if this is an “I told you so” piece.

My POV - His Holiness did the right thing. Bad example of what God expects from his clergy.

Any hint on what the Church will do with the buildings?

I think that Pope Francis is a man with a low tolerance for extravagance on the part of the clergy. While I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I’m pulling for him…this type of thing has always bothered me and, I suspect, many others’

I am hearing many positive reactions to the Pope from the non-Catholics I know.

Might he entice you to give it another try:o

The official announcement:
“The Holy Father has been continually informed in detail and objectively on the situation regarding the diocese of Limburg. In the diocese, a situation has arisen in which Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst cannot, at the present moment, continue to exercise his episcopal ministry.

Following Cardinal Lajolo’s ‘fraternal visit’ in September, the German Bishops’ Conference, in accordance with an agreement between the bishop and the Chapter of Limburg Cathedral, has constituted a Commission to carry out a detailed examination of the matter of the building of the bishop’s residence. Pending the results of this examination and of an analysis of responsibility for the matter, the Holy See considers it appropriate to authorise for Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst a period of stay outside the diocese.

By decision of the Holy See, Stadtdekan Wolfgang Rosch is today appointed as vicar general, an appointment that had previously been announced by the diocese of Limburg as taking effect from 1 January 2014. Vicar General Rosch will administer the diocese of Limburg during the absence of the diocesan bishop, within the sphere of competence associated with this office”.
You will note the actual verbiage is that he is “authorized” to stay outside the diocese until this investigation is complete. That is distinctly different verbiage than him being required to live outside the diocese.

Can. 395 §1. Even if a diocesan bishop has a coadjutor or auxiliary, he is bound by the law of personal residence in the diocese.

§2. Apart from ad limina visits, councils, synods of bishops, conferences of bishops which he must attend, or some other duty legitimately entrusted to him, he can be absent from his diocese for a reasonable cause but not beyond a month, whether continuous or interrupted, and provided that he makes provision so that the diocese will suffer no detriment from his absence.

§3. He is not to be absent from the diocese on Christmas, during Holy Week, and on Easter, Pentecost, and the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, except for a grave and urgent cause.
There is some more information at the Catholic Herald: Pope authorises leave of absence for German ‘luxury bishop’

I read about this matter, superficially, a week or two ago. It seems that the money was spent remodeling or upgrading a very historic structure.

$2000 bathtub? Why is anybody still using a bathtub?

I don’t think we have all the facts; neither does the Vatican.

Reading about the extravagance of this man, I don’t think anyone would need to lie about him, to make him look bad. He is a walking disaster and a reminder of all that is worst in the church. How many potential converts and lapsed Catholics have been further alienated by this man? In this age of instant global communication, we cannot have men like this in positions of authority. He has not only scandalized his own archdiocese, but most of the world.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.