German Bishop Under Fire For Expensive Tastes

220px-Bischof_Franz-Peter_Tebartz-van_ElstThere is an uproar over the rather refined tastes of the bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Despite the serious financial problems of the church and a new Pope who (to his and the church’s great credit) is shedding many trappings of the papacy, the bishop is building a luxurious home and offices next to Limburg Cathedral in the state of Hesse. Originally, estimated at €3 million, the complex is now up to €31 million. It includes a few items that seem out of place with a vow of poverty. He has now been called to Rome — apparently to answer why he seems to be a walk-on for a Robin Hood remake movie.

Those costs include €350,000 on built-in-wardrobes, €25,000 on a conference table and €783,000 for a garden. His own apartment will cost €3 million with €478,000 for the furnishings alone. The new chapel will cost €2.67 million — a curious necessity since he is next door to a cathedral. My favorite however is the bathtub where the most reverend body will be bathed: €15,000.

The bishop has been criticized by his own financial council about the runaway costs. He has been previously criticized for such expenses as flying to India first class to visit poor children. He is also under investigation by prosecutors for allegedly making two civil claims against Der Spiegel.

One question about the flight. Are we being too tough on the first class ticket? After all, a bishop is like the head of a large corporation and, with the reduction of space among airlines, it is increasingly difficult to work in coach. Should we cut him a bit of slack on the ticket in light of his work?

22 thoughts on “German Bishop Under Fire For Expensive Tastes”

  1. The bath… I have no issue with….. He’s one dirty… SOB….. But then again…. Robert Tiltons quoted as saying God, never meant for me to be poor….

  2. Well, I happen to live in this diocese. This scandal is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Germans pay a church tax in order to belong to a Catholic or Protestant church. This means that if you don´t register your religion with the local tax authorities, you can´t go to church, marry there, or have a priest/pastor officiate your burial service. If you quit the church, you´ll get a visit from your priest/pastor and he´ll remind you about the fact that when you die he won´t go to the funeral. The churches run a lot of schools, pre-schools and handicapped facilities. They get the money for this work from the German government. The priests/pastors are also paid from German government money, not from the funds they have available to them from the church tax. The bishops have always had free reign with their money. So, they get a lot of money and aren´t accountable to anyone and really don´t have much that they have to spend it on because most of their expenses are covered by the German government. We paid for our child to attend Catholic school. I´ve volunteered for the church a lot. NEVER AGAIN!

    BTW, the new estimate on the rectory in Limburg is 40 million Euro.

  3. If you are a sheep and you belong to a flock and he flock has a pastor, you will be fleeced.

  4. jimnjoy –
    “Shame on all of them. Where are the checks and balances on such purchases?”

    They’re at the bank – bank cheques, and bank balances.

  5. Shame on all of them. Where are the checks and balances on such purchases? Our little church has a board that would not have approved such expenditures with church money. What our pastor chooses to spend his OWN money on is his own business. For instance, the church would not approve a first-class ticket but would pay for a less-expensive one and then the pastor could bump it up to first-class with his own money.

  6. It’s nice to see the new Pope may be putting his money where his mouth is. I am curious to see if that also extends to the USA where his top bishops have been openly advocating for the party of “F*** the poor, Let’s make war” for years.

  7. I hope the Pope sends him permanently to a third world country–this time without a first class ticket.

  8. If only he had stuck to diddling young children the church would have covered for him. His mistake was in wetting his beak in the one thing the church does care about.

  9. The underestimate of 3 million which became 31 million qualifies him for a Pentagon position should the Rome trip end bad.

  10. As to first class, it seems incongruous with his alleged mission. But my question goes to a more basic issue regarding his travel to India to visit “poor” children. Are there no poor children in his Diocese or in dioceses of his fellow bishops in Germany?

  11. Perhaps the bishop needs to be moved to a new location. I hear the headwaters of the Amazon are nice this time of year.

  12. I don’t begrudge a first class ticket for someone in business, or certainly on their own dime. I don’t think people flying on taxpayer money should fly first class either. But, this guy is not in business, he is a man of God. He can fly coach. If his family has money then no problem w/ them bumping him up. If he can bump up w/ frequent flyer miles, absolutely.

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