Catholic Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst used donated money to fund lavish projects, including a luxurious residence and offices. The disgraced cleric spent 31 million euros and earned the moniker ‘Bling Bishop’ before he was suspended from his duties in October 2013 by Pope Francis. Bishop Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg was the leader of Catholics living in Hesse, Central Germany.
Following revelations by the press, a church investigation that the bishop spent lavishly. For example, 350,000 euros went for clothing and church vestments. A full report is expected within the next few days.
Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on February 17 that Bishop Tebartz-van Elst spent millions of euros given by charitable institutions such as St. Georgswerkes that were intended for poor families and children. Founded in 1949, St. Georgswerkes is no longer active and served large and impoverished families. Last week, Der Spiegel magazine reported that the bishop misappropriated funds received from at least one charitable foundation.
Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the Catholic Church’s investigation may find that the cost of Tebartz-van Elst’s vanity project to be as much as 40 million euros. A criminal investigation of the bishop is likely.