October 23, 2013 11:08 am -


Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the head of the Catholic church in Limburg, Germany, got into hot water with Pope Francis I this week.

Reports suggest that Bishop Franz, 53, spent over $50 million on renovations for his official residence; the Pope was apparently not amused, and suspended the Bishop until further notice.

The Vatican said it deemed “appropriate… a period of leave from the diocese” for the bishop.

The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter.

“A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties”, a Vatican statement said.

It said a Church commission would rule on the matter, but did not say where Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, 53, would go or what he would do while the inquiry was held.

Germany, it need not be remembered (but is), was the home of Martin Luther, who had a few problems with the excesses of the church. But that was a long time ago, and from what we see on This Old House, quality renovation work can be terribly pricey. So there’s that.

Apparently this isn’t the first time Bishop Franz has landed in the soup for his profligacy:

Calls were made for the bishop to resign after he was accused of lying under oath about his spending.

He was criticised for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.

But his official residence is at the heart of the criticism, after renovations were originally costed at 5.5m euros.

German media are reporting that the residence was fitted with a bath that cost 15,000 euros, a conference table for 25,000 euros and a private chapel that cost 2.9m euros.

If he’s indeed in hot water, at least he’ll be comfortable in that tub.