Pope Francis suspended Germany's infamous “Bishop of Bling” today after learning that the bishop spent as much as $55 million renovating his official residence, including a Bloombergian-$20,000 on his bathtub.
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst met with Pope Francis earlier this week to discuss the cost of his home's renovation, which includes $20,000 on a new bathtub, $35,000 on a single conference table, $1.1 million on a garden, and $4 million on a private chapel. The total cost could reach $55 million, far more than the already substantial $7.5 million approved for the project by Tebartz-van Elst's predecessor.
"The Holy See deems it appropriate to authorize a period of leave from the diocese for Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst," the Vatican said in a statement. "A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties."
Tebartz-van Elst is also under investigation for improper use of church money during a recent trip to India, during which the bishop reportedly flew first class.
Pope Francis has made living humbly a priority of his papacy, shunning the Vatican's more decadent practices and refusing to live in its luxurious papal residence, choosing instead the less opulent Casa Santa Marta.
[Images via AP]