Catholics incensed as German bishop of Limburg builds palace fit for a pope

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Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst's showy project set to cost £26m – 10 times initial estimates – including a €15,000 bathtub

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus advised his followers to "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven", but an influential German bishop has been accused of storing up treasures in his earthly residence instead.

Senior figures within the Roman Catholic church have called for the resignation of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg, after it emerged that the cost of a building project on his property in the town has ballooned to 10 times the original estimate.

The new building, described by some newspapers as "palatial", is expected to cost €31m (£26m) and features a standalone bath worth €15,000.

To add to Tebartz-van Elst's woes, he is now facing legal procedures for allegedly lying under oath during a legal row with a news magazine.

In 2012, Der Spiegel published an article claiming the clergyman had taken a first-class flight to India, en route to visiting poor children in the slums of Bangalore. Tebartz-van Elst had issued two affidavits denying the claims made by the magazine. On Thursday, Hamburg prosecutors asked a court to fine the bishop for providing false testimony.

The chairman of the German episcopal conference, Robert Zollitsch, announced he would discuss the high cost of the building project withPope Francis next week.

Written By: Philip Oltermann
continue to source article at theguardian.com

37 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      Ripping the people off in the name of Jesus is a very old game.

      Indeed it is.

      I’m reminded here of Pope Leo X and the disputed, “It has served us well, this myth of Christ.” quote.

      While the above quote is disputed, Leo X did say, “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.” I can only infer what he meant, given he caused the reformation through his clawing of cash from the gullible congregation and indulgences.

      The contemporary Italian humanist Jacopo Sannazaro had this to say, Sacra sub extrema, si forte requiritis, hora / cur Leo non potuit sumere: vendiderat.” which means “If by chance you ask why in his last hour Leo wasn’t able to take the sacraments: he had sold them.”

      In any event, Leo X was very opulent at the expense of the masses so Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg, is acting in the highest tradition of the RCC and in good company.

      You could have said, “Ripping the people off in the name of religion is a very old game.” and still been as equally accurate.

      The thing is, people are starting to see through this nonsense, it is just that the clerics are too feckin’ dumb to realize it. Not that I’m complaining, long may it continue.

  1. Catlicks need to stand back and take a long look at this before they complain. It is unfortunate they don’t like his palace they paid for it. Where exactly do they think the RCC puts all the money they collect from their Ponzi scheme?

  2. Hmmm, extravagance, authoritarianism, admirer of Ratzinger, lack of empathy for gays, providing false testimony..Fine attributes,wouldn’t you say – just what we’ve come to expect from those who would dare to tell us how to live.( Thankfully not all religious people are like this.)

    Makes you wonder why the Lord himself is not incensed by such behaviour and sends a lightning bolt or two…Of coure, being atheists we know why!!

    I suppose this guy could head over to the US and found his own Prosperity church if he is kicked out by the pope.

  3. A serious question: how do these guys get paid? If they are not on some suitably modest salary provided by the Vatican, with maybe accommodation provided, why not?

    Because any other system would necessarily require them to be helping themselves to some part of the funds which willing people had donated “to the church” in the hope that it might do some good somewhere.

    • In reply to #5 by Stevehill:

      A serious question: how do these guys get paid? If they are not on some suitably modest salary provided by the Vatican, with maybe accommodation provided, why not?

      Because any other system would necessarily require them to be helping themselves to some part of the funds which willing people had do…

      As far as I know they are paid by the german state, which pays more than half a billion € each year in salaries to the clergy. Of course that is on top of the church tax which everyone who is a member of a recognised church has to pay. The state of bavaria alone pays around 60 million € each year for seven dioceses.

      I find it disgusting and hope that it changes sooner than later, but with all the influence the church has here in germany (for example they have seats in the national broadcasting commission) I doubt it will change in the foreseeable future.

  4. Hilarious-Excellent. We can never have too much ammunition to use on religion.
    Believers outraged? Perhaps it will sink into their moronic minds that their church is not quite what it claims to be?

    • In reply to #6 by Billy Joe:

      Hilarious-Excellent. We can never have too much ammunition to use on religion.
      Believers outraged? Perhaps it will sink into their moronic minds that their church is not quite what it claims to be?

      I doubt it will change their minds, they will just say he’s not a true xtian and quote a few verses from jesus about being meek and how rich people cant get into heaven.

    • In reply to #6 by Billy Joe:

      Hilarious-Excellent. We can never have too much ammunition to use on religion.
      Believers outraged? Perhaps it will sink into their moronic minds that their church is not quite what it claims to be?

      They keep using the excuse that it is just a select few and not the entire Church.

      • In reply to #9 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #8 by papa lazaru:

        Flashbacks of Father Ted…

        Way beyond Father Ted. And perhaps even more helpfully hilarious…

        I believe papa lazaru was referring to how Bishop Brennan lives at home. I believe we only see that once in the series and its quite an eye-opener

        • In reply to #12 by N_Ellis:

          In reply to #9 by phil rimmer:

          In reply to #8 by papa lazaru:

          Flashbacks of Father Ted…

          Way beyond Father Ted. And perhaps even more helpfully hilarious…

          I believe papa lazaru was referring to how Bishop Brennan lives at home. I believe we only see that once in the series and its quite an eye opener…

          Ah yes! Thanks for the reminder. Its fairly clear that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is in need of a good kick up the arse too.

          • In reply to #13 by phil rimmer:

            “Ah yes! Thanks for the reminder. Its fairly clear that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is in need of a good kick up the arse too.”

            Some years ago the very “ecumenical” Vision TV station here in Canada showed all the episodes of Father Ted except that particular one so for years I didn’t get to see that signature kick up the arse. Finally saw it on PBS Buffalo.
            Also interesting that no Canadian newspapers, as far as I can see, have run this German bishop story.
            Canada needs a good kick up the arse.

        • In reply to #12 by N_Ellis:

          I believe papa lazaru was referring to how Bishop Brennan lives at home. I believe we only see that once in the series and its quite an e…

          “That money was just resting in my account”. A fatal error, and an ill-advised trip to Las Vegas, which then landed disgraced Father Ted on Craggy Island :)

          They take a few digs at opulence of the Catholic Church.

  5. @OP – Catholics incensed as German bishop of Limburg builds palace fit for a pope

    I suppose this is only carrying on an ancient European tradition.

    http://www.englandsnortheast.co.uk/PrinceBishopsDurham.html
    >

    “There are two kings in England, namely the Lord King of England, wearing a crown in sign of his regality and the Lord Bishop of Durham wearing a mitre in place of a crown, in sign of his regality in the diocese of Durham”.

    This is a quote from the steward of Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham (1284 – 1311).

    County Durham is unique, as for many centuries it was a virtually independent state ruled not by the king, but by powerful ‘Prince Bishops’, who were more or less the `Kings of County Durham’.

  6. Edward Gibbon: footnote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

    I have somewhere heard or read the frank confession of a Benedictine abbot: “My vow of poverty has given me an hundred thousand crowns a year; my vow of obedience has raised me to the rank of a sovereign prince.” I forget the consequences of his vow of chastity.

    So what else is new?

  7. So, Jesus, let me get this straight, being rich on earth is sinful and you advise us to give away all our stuff, but being rich and ‘storing up treasures’ is absolutely fine for heaven?

    This reminds me if what Islam says, that drinking alcohol and having sex with anyone you like is evil and god hates it and will punish you, but when you get to heaven, its a booze fuelled orgy of sex and rivers of wine. Heaven sounds like a den of iniquity. So god forbids you from doing things on earth, but lures you with the promise of doing them all in heaven? Hypocrisy much?

  8. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?

    Talking of vanities and pompous ineptitude: Have you seen the latest Vatican medals?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10370809/Vatican-pulls-medals-bearing-name-of-Lesus.html

    Vatican pulls medals bearing name of ‘Lesus’

    Vatican withdraws medals commemorating Francis’ papacy after misspelling name of Jesus

    The Vatican has had to withdraw more than 6,000 papal medals after the word Jesus was misspelt Lesus.

    The gold, silver and bronze medallions had been specially made by the Italian State Mint.

    They went on sale on Tuesday but it was not long before it was noticed that the word Jesus, stamped around the edge of each medallion, had been spelt wrongly, with an L in place of the J.

    The medals were minted to commemorate the beginning of Pope Francis’s papacy.

    Apparently he was appointed pope for the “L” of it!
    (In the name of the Lather, the Lon, and the Lowly Spirit.)
    It reminds me of the “Wicked Bible”.
    Alt Text

  9. This scandal has been percolating for some time. I think the German magazine Der Spiegel deserves a lot of praise for staying on the story despite Van Elst’s legal efforts to get them to shut up. I think that about sums up Van Elst’s attitude: hire some expensive lawyers to try to intimidate a national news magazine and perjure himself in the process. Maybe he thinks he can walk on water?

  10. once again, Special Thanks to Frank:

    And if these words you do not heed
    Your pocketbook just kinda might recede
    When some man comes along and
    Claims godly need
    He will clean you out right through your
    Tweed

    That’s right, remember there is a big
    Difference between kneeling down
    And bending over…
    He’s got twenty million dollars
    In his heavenly bank account…
    All from those chumps who was
    Born again
    Oh yeah, oh yeah

    He’s got seven limousines
    And a private plane…
    All for the use of his
    Special friends
    Oh yeah, oh yeah
    He’s got thousand-dollar suits
    And a wembley tie…
    Girls love to stroke it
    While he’s on the phone
    Oh yeah, oh yeah

    At the house of representatives
    He’s a groovy guy…
    When he gives thanks
    He is not alone…

    He is dealin’
    He is really dealin’
    Irs can’t determine
    Where the hook is

    It is easy with the bible
    To pretend that
    You’re in show biz

    They won’t get him
    They will never get him
    For the naughty stuff
    That he did

    It is best in cases like this
    To pretend that
    You are stupid

    He’s got presidential help
    All along the way

    He says the grace
    While the lawyers chew
    Oh yeah
    They sure do

    And the govenors agree to say:
    “he’s a lovely man!”
    He makes it easier for
    Them to screw
    All of you…
    Yes, that’s true!

    ’cause he helps put the fear of god
    In the common man
    Snatchin’ up money
    Everywhere he can
    Oh yeah
    Oh yeah

    He’s got twenty million dollars
    In his heavenly bank account
    You ain’t got nothin’, people
    You ain’t got nothin’, people
    You ain’t got nothin’, people
    Thank the man…oh yeah

  11. This is an obvious case of OPM (other peoples’ money).

    I find it amazing that this guy dismissed a priest who supported gay marriage. Clearly he values money over love. I would bet money that he gets a boyfriend within a few years after he is kicked out of the Church. He’s got a Liberace quality to him. —just sayin’

    • In reply to #25 by QuestioningKat:

      This is an obvious case of OPM (other peoples’ money).

      I find it amazing that this guy dismissed a priest who supported gay marriage. Clearly he values money over love. I would bet money that he gets a boyfriend within a few years after he is kicked out of the Church. He’s got a Liberace quality to…

      After reviewing new responses to the articles on this site, I googled photos of this man. He is absolutely gay. 100% certain. Here’s the thing: The Catholic Church created a situation in which this man had to hide himself and hide under the robes of a clergyman. If the Church woke up to the realities of homosexuality and allowed people to be who they are, he would have never chosen this life path. Yet, this doesn’t dismiss the actions of this bishop denying same sexed couples the right to marry. He would have had to earn his own money and afforded buying these things on his own. I could argue both ways and put blame on the bishop and the Church. It’s time to do him a favor and kick him out. The Church will get what’s coming to them soon enough.

      • Hi Kat,

        I totally agree with your views on this clown. If the Church’s views on homosexuality were different, (and if celibacy was not compulsory, while we’re on the subject) we wouldn’t see such people as this bishop among its ranks at all (nor would we hear of such widespread pedophilia either). As it is, he is the most blatant example of much that is wrong with the Catholic Church, and what a colourful and catchy example he is! I’m sure he doesn’t have to worry about his future employment when he gets kicked out of the ranks – any theatre would be glad to have him as a pantomime dame!

        In reply to #34 by QuestioningKat:

        In reply to #25 by QuestioningKat:

        This is an obvious case of OPM (other peoples’ money).

        I find it amazing that this guy dismissed a priest who supported gay marriage. Clearly he values money over love. I would bet money that he gets a boyfriend within a few years after he is kicked out of the Ch…

    • In reply to #27 by Stevehill:

      Not built by a cardinal, but a lowly archbishop, the Hellbrunn Palace near Salzburg is worth a visit to see how the other half live(d).

      The gardens include dining chairs equipped with concealed water jets so the archbishop could provide unexpected enemas to his guests. Oh those Catholics!

      Hardly “lowly”! They may not have been cardinals, but Salzburg was ruled for centuries as a city-state by powerful Prince-Archbishops. They controlled the salt-mines and the trade crossroads at that part of the Alps.

      Still, the story just shows how little has changed in their behaviour over the years…..

  12. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst’s showy project set to cost £26m – 10 times initial estimates – including a €15,000 bathtub.

    He probably needs some serious scrubbing to wash away his long list sins;

    • Avarice

    • perjury

    • ???????

  13. Peter could take a lesson from the Mormon Church if he wants opulence. I was agast after visiting the new Mormon temple in Calgary, AB, Canada. With the amount of marble and crystals, a marble bathtub on the backs of oxen, it looked like a bathhouse built by Saddam Hussein. I was sick to my stomach at the sight of such grotesque opulence.

    • In reply to #33 by Jr:

      .. I was sick to my stomach

      Yes; also, I had forgotten that a new temple was built in the greater KC area.

      …in this lovely part of the country

      Spare me the bs, the acreage was a hell of a lot more lovely as an open space for wildlife.

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