Pope Francis and his much-touted humble advocacy and leadership will be put in the limelight and consequently tested as to how he will handle the alleged lavish lifestyle spending of German bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. The latter is currently in the radar of the Roman Catholic group for allegedly allocating some $42 million to renovate his residence and construct new diocesan offices.
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst is now in Rome after being summoned by the Vatican, following the outrageous discovery of his alleged overtly lavish lifestyle.
The German bishop got enmeshed in heavy scrutiny after German media reported an initial audit of his spending showed the renovations and construction of the projects had surged six times more than what was planned. The audit came about after a Vatican monitor visited Limburg in September.
Initially approved by his predecessor at 5.5 million euro, the project, now under Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, surged to 31 million euro ($42 million).
"I am convinced that the bishop of Limburg... will confront this situation in a spirit of self-criticism," Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops' Conference, told a news conference at the Vatican.
"This weighs on us," he added, noting the matter will definitely not remain "without consequences."
Germany's 24 million Catholics have called for the resignation of the 53-year-old Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, following the disclosure of his very expansive and expensive residence that included a private bathtub.
"I am praying for our Bishop to be healed of his egomania," one churchgoer told the German DW news agency.
Only the Pope has the authority to remove a bishop, who cannot normally resign or be dismissed, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
Moreover, Bishop Tebartz-van Elst has been accused of allegedly issuing false statements to the court regarding an expensive flight he took to India to visit poor communities.
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