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Pope banishes Germany's 'bishop of bling'

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 01:22

Oct. 23 - Pope Francis has banished the German Roman Catholic prelate known as the 'luxury bishop' from his diocese for spending nearly $43 million on his residence. Mana Rabiee reports.

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He's been called the "luxury bishop". He lives in a nearly $43 million residence in Limburg, Germany, built with Church funds. The bath tub alone is said to have cost 15,000 euros. He's Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. And his spending habits have been front-page news in Germany for weeks. On Wednesday, Pope Francis banished him from his diocese, pending an investigation into cost over runs. In making the announcement, a Vatican spokesman said the bishop is no longer able to carry out his ministry. (SOUNDBITE) (German/official translation to Italian) VATICAN SPOKESMAN, FATHER FEDERICO LOMBARDI, SAYING: "The German Bishops Conference decided to carry out an in-depth inquiry into the construction of the bishops residence. Whilst waiting for the result of this enquiry the Holy See has decided that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst should have a period outside of the diocese." The incident has been an embarrassment for the Pontiff, who's built his papacy on a more austere Church. But his saga is also a major management problem for the Vatican. The 53 year-old bishop is more than two decades away from official retirement age in the Church. Even if he eventually steps down from his diocese all together, he'd keep his title and rank. That means the Vatican would have to find another post - somewhere -- for the so-called "bishop of bling".

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Pope banishes Germany's 'bishop of bling'

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 01:22