Since his ordination, Pope Francis has been urging prelates to adopt a more humble lifestyle.
German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was ordered to vacate the Diocese of Limburg, at least temporarily, on Wednesday.
The news came in a short statement from the Vatican press office stating that the actions of the bishop had created a situation "where in the present moment he cannot exercise his Episcopal ministry."
"Pending the results of this examination and the related investigations on the responsibilities in this regard, the Holy See considers it appropriate to authorize Bishop Franz -Peter Tebartz-van Elst a period of stay outside the Diocese," the statement said.
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst met with Pope Francis in a twenty minute closed door meeting last Monday, Good Morning America reports.
The final decision on the future of the German Bishop will be made after the German Bishop Conference has finished a detailed report on the cost of the construction remodelling of the bishop's official residence.
The final total for the construction of a new bishop’s residence complex and related renovations is expected to reach $55 million, $13 million over the already substantial price tag. Costs for the renovations included a reported $475,000 on closets and $20,000 for the bishop's bathtub.
Tebartz-van Elst has defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and for additional costs, due to the regulations over the historical building.
Germany’s main lay Catholic group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, praised the decision as creating “the necessary space to clear up completely and firmly the events in Limburg,”
“Pope Francis’ decision offers the chance of a first step toward a new beginning in the Limburg diocese, because the situation had become an increasing burden for the faithful there and in all of Germany over recent weeks,” the group’s head Alois Glueck said.
Watch the GMA News report below:
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