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Limburger raises a stink: Germans Catholics want to see Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sacked

Whoever experiences poverty in person will discover the true greatness of God.

These are the words of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 52, the bishop of Limburg, a very pictureque small city in western Germany near Frankfurt.

According to this report, he also told his flock in a Christmas sermon to sate their thirst with water not wine:

Renewal begins where the efforts toward making due with less are made. The person of faith is dirt poor and rich in mercy.

The bishop of Limburg

High roller Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg

Well, right now, Franz-Peter’s poverty sermons are looking just a tad hypocritical, given that he has blown about $42 million on tarting up his palatial residence.

Catholics in Limburg are outraged – especially given that funds are tight or insufficient across the diocese. There isn’t enough money for the upkeep of churches, and parishes are being consolidated. What’s more, funding for Catholic day care centres is being slashed. All of this is part of the bishop’s tough cost-cutting measures.

Ever since construction on the bishop’s complex began and the extent of his lavish became known, the atmosphere among Limburg’s Catholics reportedly been poisoned.

One member of the cathedral’s choir loudly voiced her anger immediately after a mass:

Many church communities don’t know where they are going to get the money to pay to heat their churches next winter or to make urgently needed repairs to their church roofs.

The bishop ordered up a palatial living room, and his apartment alone cost $3.9 million, according to Jochen Riebel, the spokesman for the body administering church property in Limburg. Riebel said the bishop lied last summer when confronted over the cost, estimating the renovation at just $13.5 million.

Citing  Riebel, the German news agency DPA itemized the work: $474,000 for carpentry and cupboards, $610,000 for art, $135,000 for windows for a private chapel, $34,000 for a conference table, $20,000 for a bathtub.

“For heaven’s sake!” the headline atop the nation’s largest-selling tabloid, Bild, screamed on Friday. Over a graphic that showed the bishop’s living quarters and offices, it asked:

Why does the bishop need a €783,000 garden?

By Friday, calls for the resignation of the Bishop multiplying.

The church exists to serve the weak, the sick and the poor, said Stefan Vesper, the leader of the country’s biggest organization of Catholics and among those calling for resignation. The bishop’s behavior “is not the Catholic Church,” he said.

In September, as thousands of Catholics signed petitions for and against him, the bishop, whose diocese of 682,000 believers includes rural Rhineland but also Frankfurt, the banking metropolis, begged forgiveness from all whom he might have “hurt and disappointed.”

After a visit from a Vatican envoy, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who was sent to investigate the growing furore, the bishop agreed to have the German church investigate his spending, which he has insisted incorporated ten separate building projects and was mandated by preservation laws.

On Friday, the bishop scrapped a planned trip to Israel with a church choir, but remained silent, behind the walls of the controversial residence.

Said Joachim Heidersdorf, chief reporter for Nassauische Neue Presse, a newspaper in Limburg, a picturesque small town whose cathedral dates from more than 800 years ago:

 He will have to step down; there is no alternative.

Apart from his lavish spending, the bishop also stands accused of making false statements under oath. A senior state prosecutor, Nana Frombach, formally charged on Thursday that he twice made false statements during his legal action against the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which in 2012 reported that he flew first class on a visit to the poor in India.

If found guilty, the prelate could face a fine. Much worse than his spending, in the eyes of Claudia Keller, writing on Friday for the daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, is the formal charge that he lied and that:

Till today, he is sticking hard by that lie. That is not just embarrassing and a violation of the Eighth Commandment. It is the complete opposite of the life that Pope Francis imagines for his bishops.

By late Friday, Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, who was appointed to Limburg by Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, a German, was clearly embarrassing even the cautious leaders of the roughly 24 million registered Catholics in Germany.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, who said he was befuddled by the multimillions spent by the prelate when the figures emerged this week.

Tebartz-van Elst, who was ordained in 1985 and studied in France and at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in the late 1980s, was Germany’s youngest bishop when he was installed in January 2008.

Commenting on the scandal, Felix Steiner of Deutsche Welle wrote:

‘Those to whom God gives an office, he also gives sense’ – it’s an old saying in German among the faithful. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is apparently an exception to that sentiment. The bishop of Limburg has become a burden on the Catholic Church. But thus far, he seems unwilling to vacate an office that he has so massively damaged.

Steiner added:

Tebartz has only himself to blame for the problems now making it impossible for him to exercise his office. No one forced him to make a declaration under oath about his trip to India that video evidence then proved to be a clear lie. And why is a bishop’s official administration office unable to provide a transparent accounting of its budget on a construction project within four weeks?

Thirty-one million euros ($42 million) is a lot of money and does not cohere with the ideal of a poor church that the new Pope Francis has so vehemently preached about. But other bishops in Germany have built similarly expensive residences in the past without causing a comparable outcry. As any politician knows, it’s often not the problem itself that prevents you from staying in office, but, instead, how you deal with it.

In any case, the question is: Was the bishop really the only one who knew about the construction costs for the Limburg project? That’s questionable. Ideally, some of those responsible for managing the church’s accounts who now describe Tebartz as “ill” in newspaper interviews would have shown the courage to ask critical questions during committee meetings in recent years.

Steiner concluded:

The case in Limburg reveals the weakness of the centralized structure of the Catholic Church. Although Bishop Tebartz-van Elst is damaging the reputation of the entire Catholic Church in Germany, the problem cannot be solved in this country alone.

Only the pope can relieve a bishop of duty. Now, Germans, known for their frequent criticism of the papacy and of Vatican decisions, are looking eagerly to Francis. ‘Roma locuta, causa finita – Rome has spoken, the matter is closed’ – is an old principle of the Catholic Church. Let’s hope that word comes soon.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn & Angela K.

 

 

43 Responses to “Limburger raises a stink: Germans Catholics want to see Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sacked”

  1. Old Nick says:

    No surprise. The international crime syndicate and paedophile ring up to its usual business. Do as I say, not as I do.

  2. […] "Whoever experiences poverty in person will discover the true greatness of God." These are the words of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 52, the bishop of Limburg, a very picturesque small city in western Germany near Frankfurt. He also told his flock in a Christmas sermon to sate their thirst with water not wine: "Renewal begins where the efforts toward making due with less are made. The person of faith is dirt poor and rich in mercy." Well, right now, Franz-Peter’s poverty sermons are looking just a tad hypocritical, given that he has blown about $42 million on tarting up his palatial residence.  […]

  3. Broga says:

    I think these paedos and high rollers enjoy deceiving the suckers. On top of that they don’t believe the bullshit they preach. That just comes with the territory and the lies are what they do to maintain their luxurious lifestyle.

    This man stands before the flock preaching poverty knowing he is getting away with a monumental scam. And he doesn’t hesitate to lay it on with a trowel as the fools look up at him with reverence. He has been having laugh. What is striking is how pitiless are priests like this one who know the poverty of many of their flock and continue to stick them for as much as they can squeeze out of them.

    They need religion and faith to perpetrate the scam and they have got them.

  4. Barry Duke says:

    Well, we’ve got the lies and the videotape, Broga. Wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the sex bit to complete this particular picture?

  5. Adrian says:

    Is it true that the RCC taught the Mafia/Cosa Nostra all they know?

  6. L.Long says:

    I’ll listen to what the catlickers say when the pedio-priests are in jail, when the vaticant sells off its riches and the priest-bishops-& the Ahole pope start living in the poverty they say is so wonderful.
    Til then they are a bunch of lying hypocritical Aholes to be vilified.

  7. T says:

    This is the gargantuan con trick of religion laid bare. Pose as god’s representative on earth, threaten fire, brimstone and eternal damnation in hell, offer salvation to those who pay and abandon their critical faculties, control every phase of a persons life through rituals of baptism, confirmation, marriage and funeral, charge money for these services, demand weekly attendance for the purpose of mind control, run the schools to poison and imprison the minds of children hence securing generations of victims. Do all these things and you rule the masses and cream a handsome wealthy lifestyle. The Catholics go a bit further. They extract confessions from the flock and thus exercise the power of blackmail. Oh and also rape and force oral sexual gratification from children. Muslims go even further. If you don’t submit you will be murdered. Why do so many people fail to see right through the criminal motives of the pious? Why can’t they see right through this most appalling and persistent crime of exploitation?

  8. Alan C says:

    The fact that he lied under “oath” is proof, if (more) proof were needed, that they don’t believe the bullshit they preach.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst: living proof that the entire roman catholic church is built upon greed and couldn’t actually give a flying one about ordinary people.

  10. charlie says:

    Hey, this guy is a damn “good” catlick. I’d say he a shining example of a damn “good” one and is now a bishop. This just goes to show the true nature of that vile criminal/pedophile organization. Greed and unlawful sex with minors, and just look at the richest they have amassed and continue to get even more.
    What damn fools their followers are. I do have some compassion for the members who occupy the pews every time they attend mass, but come on people, this guy is NOT and aberration, he is a damn fine example of the ruling class in the RCC.
    Organized religion, the absolute worst thing we humans have ever invented.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Organized religion, the absolute worst thing we humans have ever invented.

    Hear, hear!

  12. Tim Danaher says:

    “Limburger raises a stink”… I see what you did there… ????

  13. John c says:

    “Whoever experiences poverty in person will discover the true greatness of God.”
    As we all knew, the church loves people to be desperate,it does its best recruiting from the poor and downtrodden with no hope other than their delusions.

  14. 1859 says:

    We need a Martin Luther to hammer an Atheist proclamation into the doors of the Limburg cathedral and so split apart this disgusting organisation. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Puritans who ripped down the ostentatious luxury of these catholic priests and popes, men who draped themselves in riches and priviledge, men who excel in pretending they’re demi-gods, but who are really over weight clowns brimming with self-righteous arrogance, peddling lies and superstition, fostering ignorance and blind dogmatic belief.

  15. barriejohn says:

    I was really shocked at this news. After all, he’s not supposed to be a Pentecostal minister, is he?

  16. James says:

    This kind of behaviour “is not the Catholic Church”? Have any of them seen St Peter’s Basilica?

  17. barriejohn says:

    James : None of this obscene wealth actually belongs to them, you understand – they are merely the “custodians” of it. And, incidentally, our Beloved Queen is to have her allowance substantially increased, as she is “down to her last million” (in your dreams!).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/inflationbusting-22-payrise-for-the-queen-branded-immoral-by-campaigners-after-rainy-day-fund-is-reduced-to-last-1-million-8874123.html

  18. 1859 says:

    ‘Though the Queen is an anachronism of tradition, she at least doesn’t try an ram superstitious bullshit down our throats as well as flaunting her wealth and preaching poverty. This Limburg jerk should be sent by the pope to work in a leprosy colony somewhere in darkest Mongolia.

  19. barriejohn says:

    The Queen is Head of the Church of England, and represents the very worst aspects of our society.

  20. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Spot on. The Queen and her idle, promiscuous and night club loving brood are a stain on a country with pretensions to be democratic.

  21. […] Limburger raises a stink: Germans Catholics want to see Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sacked (freethinker.co.uk) […]

  22. […] Limburger raises a stink: Germans Catholics want to see Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sacked (freethinker.co.uk) […]

  23. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Evidently, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were devastated when they had to pay full rental of £120,000 per annum on their Kensington Palace apartments. The Queen was allowing them to get away with just £69 a week:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2458334/Princess-Michael-Kent-horror-having-downsize.html

    (Full story at the Sunday Times of you want to pay for it!)

  24. Mr Cornelius says:

    He resembles Herr Lipp from The League of Gentlemen…

  25. […] Limburger raises a stink: Germans Catholics want to see Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sacked […]

  26. barriejohn says:

    Or Herr Otto Flick of ‘Allo ‘Allo! fame, Mr Cornelius . Which reminded me of this:

    http://youtu.be/rxIC9Drl_vw

  27. The Woggler says:

    ‘Though the Queen is an anachronism of tradition, she at least doesn’t try an ram superstitious bullshit down our thoats…’

    So why is she the titular head of the CofE? Isn’t that exactly what she should be doing?

  28. Groover says:

    Religion….Monarchy…. Monarchy….Religion….
    On your knees suckers…..

  29. Broga says:

    @Groover: In the UK it is considered bad form to question or criticise the monarchy. In our wonderful democracy they can’t be questioned in parliament. The great and the good have pointless medals and other decorations pushed at them to keep them on board. Ever wondered how William with a geography degree gets to be a helicopter pilot. Seems he soon tired of that and is now on a year’s holiday. What about the man or woman who didn’t get to be a pilot to make room for William?

    Harry, “I want to lead my men” Windsor, our fun loving prince, didn’t last long and was soon back leading his chinless wonder friends in the nightclubs. The way he got into Sandhurst in the first place leaves a bad smell.

  30. Canada Dave says:

    If you want to make some safe money buy bonds…..if you want to make really big money…..get into the god business.

  31. Tom80 says:

    @Broga
    Ever wondered how William with a geography degree gets to be a helicopter pilot.

    I served some 15 years in the RAF and still have contacts. The sons of many of my RAF friends are now serving and one of them ,with no axe to grind, had served with Flt Lt Windsor. According to my friends son he was a Bl!!! good helicopter pilot and did a darn good job. He thinks the main reason he left was that Search and rescue is going to be “privatised” so it would have been difficult for him to carry on as a search and rescue pilot, also he suspects the Royal family will require him to carry more official duties.

    I do not mind anyone criticising the Royal Family, but regarding FLT LT Windsor’s abilities as a pilot you cannot know. I would sooner trust my friends son’s opinion than yours, At least he’s been on a rescue mission with him

  32. Broga says:

    @Tom80: Fair enough. Point taken.

  33. Wm Bergmann says:

    How to this creep ever get away with this outrage? Does anyone in the church monitor what is collected and where it is spent? This is a Madoff worthy scam!

  34. Arcangelo Caldarulo says:

    What’s for dinner at his home I wonder ?

  35. Matt+Westwood says:

    From the Independent report:

    “The office of the head of state should be funded like every other public body – through a budget agreed by Parliament and based on need.”

    Oh spare us. Cummyrunt and his band of merrie fuckers? Do us a cunting favour.

  36. Golestan says:

    Here in Canada the churches do not pay real estate tax or real property tax how is that in the UK? Are you forced to subsidize the churches with your taxes?

  37. lucy 1 says:

    @golestan. Churches do get preferential rates for most things. Sickening. I am not sure of the details. They at least count as charities, who also get preferential rates.

    On this topic, I saw a lovely picture of this mad bishop in front of his new fountain. It is just a huge knob. Must be a rare sight when it is squirting out water….

  38. barriejohn says:

    More on state financing of religion in Germany here:

    http://www.dw.de/the-opaque-financing-of-germanys-churches/a-17161371

  39. barriejohn says:

    lucy 1: Here is the huge knob. You can also see the fountain.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/10/10/article-0-18A808E500000578-561_634x437.jpg

  40. lucy 1 says:

    Ha!

  41. […] Limburger raises a stink: Germans Catholics want to see Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst sacked […]

  42. […] Take Rev Norbert Feldhoff  for example. He is Provost at Cologne Cathedral and, in the wake of the “Bishop of Bling” scandal, told the diocesan radio station that it would be hard to explain some aspects of church finances […]