27 Mar 2014

German 'Bishop of Bling' resigns

5:28 am on 27 March 2014

Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of a German bishop suspended for lavish spending.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Photo: AFP (file)

The Vatican made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday.

Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was accused of spending more than 31 million euros on renovating his official residence. The work was originally set to cost 5.5 million euros.

The "bishop of bling" offered to resign when the scandal broke last October.

German media reported that the quarters were fitted with a 15,000 euro bath, a conference table for 25,000 euros and a private chapel worth 2.9 million euros.

In response, Pope Francis temporarily suspended Bishop Tebartz-van Elst and instructed a Church commission to investigate the matter.

Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his disapproval of senior clerics whose lifestyles seem too lavish.

On Wednesday, the Vatican said the inquiry found that the senior cleric could no longer exercise his ministry.

Auxiliary Bishop Manfred Grothe has been appointed to run the Limburg diocese.

The bishop was also under fire for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.