German 'Bishop of Bling's multi-million euro mansion to be used to serve needy


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The Independent Online

Germany’s recently suspended “Bishop of Bling” faces the prospect of seeing his lavish multimillion euro residence turned into a refugee centre or a soup kitchen for the homeless, Catholic church officials in his home diocese announced today.

Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst was formally suspended last week amid accusations that he had spent over €31m (£26.5m) on renovating his official residence in Limburg. The charges, which earned the 53-year-old bishop his nickname, provoked outrage among German Catholics.

Yesterday, church officials in Limburg said they were taking their own steps to admonish him.

“The residence is like an inherited sin which the bishop has left in his wake,” said a spokesman for the Caritas organisation for the homeless. “People who seek sanctuary with us could be given food in the residence,” he added.

Turning the complex into a refugee centre would follow the practice of a former Limburg bishop who housed a refugee family from Eritrea while he moved into a residence for novice priests.