'Luxury bishop' faces grilling

By Michael Day

Limburg diocese officials have confirmed that last summer he spent 31 million renovating his residence. Photo / AP
Limburg diocese officials have confirmed that last summer he spent 31 million renovating his residence. Photo / AP

As a concession to belt-tightening, the decision by a sybaritic German bishop to take a budget airline flight to Rome is looking like too little, too late.

The general opinion among Catholic officials and the flock of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is that rather than fly cattle class last weekend, the priest should have thought about his expenditure several years ago.

This might have stopped him spending 350,000 ($566,000) on walk-in wardrobes for his palatial home in the ancient town of Limburg near Frankfurt. It is this lavish expenditure that the man - known by locals as "the Luxury Bishop of Limburg" or simply the "Swanky Bishop" - came to the Vatican to answer for yesterday.

Limburg diocese officials have confirmed that last summer he spent 31 million renovating his residence.

Germany's 24 million registered Catholics make a compulsory contribution to the Church from their income tax. And some of them, angered by the decadence, staged protests outside the bishop's residence.

- Independent

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