The diocese in the German city of Limburg wants compensation from its ex-bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, according to a German media report. He was suspended after wasting church money on his lavish residence.
Citing diocese spokesman Stephan Schnelle, German daily "Bild" says that the administrator of the residence, who was sent from Rome, had repeatedly asked for "material indemnity" from Tebartz-van Elst.
"Now, the pope has to decide," Schnelle told the paper.
The former bishop's extravagant mansion, 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. "Bild" says that is the sum the diocese wants to be compensated for.
The paper adds that a Church trial will have to ascertain whether Tebartz-van Elst can be solely held responsible for the loss.
Tebartz-van Elst stepped down as bishop of Limburg in October 2013 after details of his lavish spending had come to light and caused outrage. 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."
The pope accepted his resignation the following spring. He was then transferred to Rome for a more minor role.
ng/kms (dpa, KNA)