‘Bishop of Bling’ forced to resign
UNLIKE so many other rogue priests within the Catholic Church, Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst hasn’t, as far as we know, sexually abused minors, so he isn’t being shifted to pastures new to freely re-offend. The Limburg bishop’s crime was, as far as the Vatican is concerned, far worse than child rape.
He exposed the obscenity of the Church’s wealth at a VERY inopportune moment, just when Pope Frankie was embarking on propaganda drive to to convince the world that the RCC’s mission is to be a “poor Church, for the poor.”
Well, Tebarz-van Elst’s lavish spending put a dent the size of the Sistine Chapel in Frankie’s PR exercise, and this week the Vatican formally accepted his resignation, called on the diocese of Limburg to accept the decision “with docility” and to work toward restoring a “climate of charity and reconciliation”.
I had to chuckle over that phrase “with docility”. The good folk of Limburg, if the carnival float above is anything to go by, are are turning cartwheels over his departure. With the the motto ‘Living like God in Limburg’ the float delighted crowds when it appeared at a parade March 3 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images).
Meanwhile auxiliary Bishop Manfred Grothe has been appointed to run the Limburg diocese.
The Vatican did not further elaborate on the future of Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, but said he would get a new position “at the opportune time”.
But what job can possibly be given to this man, whose sole talent appears to be profligacy with dosh that isn’t his, and who clearly has a taste for the good things in life – like a £176,000 fish tank; an advent wreath that cost £14,900; £1.43 million worth of bronze window frames; floors that cost £169,670; a £141,530 spiral staircase and premium LED lights that cost £537,960?
In total, he spent over £24 million of the “poor” Church’s money on the renovation of his residence.
Over to you dear readers, for suggestions.
The most amusing one posted under this report between now and April 7 will in a copy of Mitchell Stephens’ recently published Imagine There No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World.
In this compelling hardback, published in February by Palgrave Macmillan, Stephens shows how various strands of non-belief have shaped Western civilisation.
From ancient Greece and Enlightenment Paris through to 19th century Britain and the present day, he shows how those who challenged the supernatural contributed to humankind’s greatest accomplishments, including the advancement of knowledge, the expansion of human rights, and the overall rise of learning and liberty on earth.
This is what Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of The Believing Brain, and The Science of Good and Evil said of Stephens’ book:
The only thing new about the New Atheists are the names.
As Mitchell Stephens reveals in this gripping narrative history of atheism, many brave souls have come out of the atheist closet over the centuries to challenge the religious dogma of their day, and many paid the ultimate price for so doing. We all stand on the shoulders of these giants so artfully brought to life—along with their ideas—in this important contribution to the burgeoning literature on unbelief.
There is also a glowing review of the book here.
Hat tip: Angela K and BarrieJohn (“Bishop of Bling” reports)