Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pope Francis temporarily expels ‘luxury bishop’ from German diocese after $42M home reno



VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis temporarily expelled a German bishop from his diocese on Wednesday because of a scandal over a 31-million-euro project to build a new residence complex, but refused calls to remove him permanently.

The Vatican didn't say how long Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst would spend away from the diocese of Limburg and gave no information on where he would go or what he would do. It said he was leaving pending the outcome of a church commission investigation into the expenditures and his role in the affair.
Limburg's vicar general, the Rev. Wolfgang Roesch, who had been due to take up his duties on Jan. 1, will instead start work immediately and will run the diocese during Tebartz-van Elst's absence, the Vatican said.
At the centre of the controversy is the 31-million-euro ($42 million) price tag for the construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations. Tebartz-van Elst has defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and that there were additional costs because of regulations on buildings under historical protection.

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