German ′bling bishop′ avoids trial, compensation | News | DW | 09.09.2015
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German 'bling bishop' avoids trial, compensation

Ex-bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst does not have to pay damages to his former diocese. Germany's bling bishop was suspended after he wasted church money on a lavish residence.

The Vatican has decided that a canonical trial to ascertain whether Tebartz-van Elst should pay compensation was not warranted, the bishop's former diocese announced on Wednesday, without explaining the reasoning behind the decision.

The diocese of Limburg in south-western Germany, which had demanded compensation from its former bishop, said it had accepted the decision as "the Holy See is ultimately responsible for any legal charges brought against a bishop," Manfred Grothe, head of the Limburg diocese, said.

Tebartz-van Elst's extravagant mansion in Limburg, which featured details such as bronze window frames and a 15,000-euro freestanding bath, set the Catholic Church back a princely 31.3 million euros ($34.2 million).

In April, the Episcopal See said the construction of the bishop's residence had incurred a loss of 3.9 million euros for repair works and architects' design plans that were not used in the end. It was the sum the diocese wanted to be compensated for.

It was also revealed that he flew first class to oversee a project in India, leading to headlines such as "First class to the slums" in popular news magazine "Der Spiegel." He resigned in October 2013.

Tebartz-van Elst remains on the Church's payroll - he currently serves on a papal evangelization council at the Vatican.

The Limburg diocese hopes to find a successor for Tebartz-van Elst by mid-2016.

ng/jil (dpa, epd)

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