Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of the controversial bishop of Limburg in Germany, who came under fire after reports revealed he was living a lavish lifestyle.
Franz-Peter Terbartz-van Elst, whom the international media dubbed as the “Bling Bishop,” had been relieved indefinitely of his clerical duties by the pope last year after reports emerged detailing his high-roller lifestyle, the Vatican announced on Wednesday, March 26, according to a report from Agence France Presse.
The Roman Catholic bishop came under fire and faced outrage over an ostentatious construction project at his official residence in the ancient town of Limburg in central Hesse state. The building included a museum, several conference halls, a chapel and private apartments.
The whole project was originally priced at only 5.5 million euros ($7.4 million), but the cost ballooned to around 31 million euros. Additional features were added including a 783,000 euro garden and a 15,000 euro bathtub—all paid for using the revenue from a religious tax in Germany.
The 53-year-old bishop also came under fire for lying under oath about his trips to visit slum dwellers in India.
Tebartz-van Elst had told a news outlet based in Hamburg that “we flew business class,” but then in sworn testimony denied having said those words.
The reporter, however, had videotaped him making the comment, and the embattled bishop agreed to settle the court case with a 20,000 euro payment in November.