Catholics Furious As Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst's Residence Renovation Cost $42 Million
Apparently one German bishop wasn’t too worried when it came to the cost of renovations at his residence, but Catholics are angry about the price tag that continued to increase and are seeking the bishop’s resignation.
The cost of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst's renovation project on his property skyrocketed to $42 million. The new building has been described some by some media outlets as “palatial” and senior members within the Roman Catholic church are calling for the bishop to resign.
Robert Zollitsch, the chairman of the German episcopal conference, said he would discuss the high cost of the building project with Pope Francis next week.
"I am as surprised by these figures as you," Zollitsch said. "I am mystified by these figures and will say so to the holy father."
The cost of the project on the bishop of Limburg’s property is reportedly 10 times the original estimate. The upgrades reportedly included heavy spending on such items as built-in closets, a conference table and a basement under the bishop’s apartment.
Jochen Riebel, a locally prominent politician and member of a three-person, church-appointed committee that oversees the diocese's assets, said the bishop repeatedly had construction plans changed and ordered lavish furnishings for his personal apartment—all without properly informing the committee.
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing in the construction project, but many are angry about it and a prominent Catholic reform movement called on the bishop to resign or at least temporarily step aside.
Besides the outlandish spending on the residentce, it appears that Bishop Tebartz-van Elst also has some legal issues to face now. He allegedly lied under oath and prosecutors have asked the court to fine him for providing false testimony, according to The Guardian.