‘Bling bishop’s’ diocese decides use for $34 million residence
LIMBURG, GERMANY — The diocese of Limburg in western Germany announced Friday that it would open the controversial $34 million residence of former bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst for public events.
The controversial complex of buildings that make up the lavish bishop’s palace would be “demystified and demythologized” by the move, the diocese said Friday in a statement.
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, dubbed the “bling bishop” for his extravagant lifestyle, was reprimanded by Pope Francis and removed from his position before being given a new role in the Vatican.
Tebartz-van Elst had drawn heavy criticism from many quarters for the multimillion dollar renovation of the palace that came to light in a report commissioned by the German Catholic Church.
Among the items that raised eyebrows was a $22,000 two-seater bathtub.
As pope, Francis has shunned wealth and some of the traditional trappings of the church and called for a fairer redistribution of the world’s wealth.
The diocese said the palace would have a temporary use before the new bishop, who has not yet been named, takes up his position.