'Bling bishop' ordered to leave German dioceseThursday 24 October 2013 10.08
Pope Francis has ordered the German Roman Catholic prelate known as the "bishop of bling" for spending around €31m on a residence to leave his diocese for an unspecified period.
The move, just short of a resignation, was taken against Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg.
It comes two days after he met the pope to discuss the scandal in the German church at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.
The renovation costs went from an initial €5m to over €30m, with an additional €10m also likely due because of damage to surrounding streets and structures caused by the construction work.
A Vatican statement said the bishop "was currently not in a position to carry out his episcopal ministry" and that he was ordered to leave the diocese while an investigation and audit into cost over-runs is held.
The diocese will be administered in the bishop's absence by a vicar.
The pope has called for a more austere church and has told bishops not to live "like princes".
German media, citing official documents, said the residence had been fitted with a free-standing bath that cost €15,000, a conference table that cost €25,000 and a private chapel that cost €2.9m.