October 23rd, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Vatican suspends German bishop amid spending investigation

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors
[twitter-follow screen_name='CNNBelief']

(CNN) - The Vatican said Wednesday it has suspended a German bishop who has come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst is under investigation for his spending after his residence in Limburg, Germany, was renovated for $42 million.

The Vatican says Tebartz-Van Elst cannot carry out his ministry as long as the investigation in ongoing, and he's been ordered to stay outside his diocese.

Coined the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-Van Elst, who is known as theologically conservative, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the cost overruns on the renovation are legitimate because surrounding structures had to be protected, including the old city wall.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Germany • Money & Faith • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (680 Responses)
  1. children of Israel

    Do the wicked inherit the kingdom of heaven? (Saint Matthew 8:12) *Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

    October 23, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  2. children of Israel

    Remember, Christ came in the flesh as a man and was crucified (1st John 4:3) So how can Christ be an angel? (2nd Corinthians 11:14) The Pope is man who worships the angel (Micah 3:11)

    October 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I don't think Catholic doctrine has Jesus as an angel.

      October 23, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  3. Indiana Jones

    He kind of looks like the Gestapo agent in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    October 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Crom

      Since he's probably a Nazi, we just need to open up the Ark and let it burn the flesh off his bones. Oh, wait, the Ark is crap.

      October 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  4. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I was originally thinking that picture three was the house – which looks nicely restored, but no, it's the whole bottom half of picture 11.

    I understand that the home of a bishop is usually the workplace for the diocesan administration, but that place is huge and there is a *lot* of brand new marble in those pictures. The phallic fountain is odd too.

    October 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  5. Alias

    I may be biased, but all i see is a warped set of values:
    bugger a child, you must move.
    Waste money, you're fired.

    October 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Reality #2

      Don't forget the most used, guilty till proven innocent. Seems the RCC haters use that one the most.

      October 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
      • Crom

        Sure, Russ, we all love to hear you whine about it while stealing someone else's name. Youbetcha, donchano.

        October 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • mickey1313

        Realy? Give some examples. It seems that Christian apologists jusy want this band of evil men to be left to do as they please. Good for this new liberal pope takeing more action. He's already twice the leader benie was.

        October 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Not from the original Reality #2.

        October 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    Song of Songs 7:10-12

    10 I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.
    11 Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.
    12 Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom— there I will give you my love.

    Gotta love bible porn.

    October 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Wait~isn't the Song of Songs also known as the Song of Solomon? Tsk tsk.

      October 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Wait, why come I got tskited?

        October 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • Akira

          Tskited? Lol.
          No, I was referring to this line: "10 I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me." Was somebody singing TO Solomon, or was he singing that to someone else? Admittedly, it has been many years since I've read "Song of Songs"; I'm too lazy to revisit it.

          October 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
        • Crom

          tskited? Tsk, tsk.

          October 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    Moses was a murderer before he became a Prophet:

    Exodus 2
    13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"

    14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."

    15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

    Numbers 25
    17 "Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them,

    18 because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor."

    1 Kings 21
    20 Ahab said to Elijah, "So you have found me, my enemy!" "I have found you," he answered, "because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD.

    21 'I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel-slave or free.

    22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.'

    2 Kings 9

    7 You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD's servants shed by Jezebel.

    8 The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel-slave or free.

    9 I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah.

    In 1 Kings 21 and 2 Kings 9, were all "last males" guilty of what the enemies of GOD Almighty did? In other words, did they all have to die for the sins of others?

    October 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the best story about noah is what happened after the big flood.
      noah was a drunk. one day he got sloshed and passed out in his tent with his nuts hanging out. one of his sons walks in and see daddy's junk. he goes and tells his brothers, who close their eyes, enter daddy's tent and cover up his sack. then they wake daddy and tell him what happened. noah decides to punish the son that saw his family jewels by making him and all his descendants slaves to his brothers. yep, because noah is a drunkard that sleeps with his dork hanging out, his son and all of his offspring must serve as slaves for all time.


      October 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        woops, thought you said noah and not moses. but he has some great stories, too. hehe.

        October 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Alias

          You must be mistaken.
          Surely the bible doesn't allow slavery. The bible is the moral standard our country was built upon. I'm going to have to ask a southern baptist if they think owning people is okay with god.

          October 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Betty

          Of course SBC believes wives should be owned.

          October 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • mickey1313

        And, he's not even a man, if you read the aprocripha text, book of enoch, his daddy was an angel.

        October 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    Jesus killing his enemies:

    "So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (From the NIV Bible, Revelation 2:22-23)"

    October 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Brother Karim proved from the Greek text that "children" here is actually literal and means actual children.

      October 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        yeah, jesus said some great things about love and poverty - but he also said some crazy-ass s.hit too. he recommends beating disobedient slaves "with many stripes."

        October 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • ThinkForYourself

          Can you please tell us where in the bible did jesus say that?

          October 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  9. Susan StoHelit

    Here's hoping for a long life for this Pope – I don't know how it happened, but they've got a decent one, for once. He's got a mountain of corruption and sickness and wealth to fight through, but he is at least driving them in the right direction for once.

    Did you hear – allegations of child abuse against a priest were reported to the Vatican – and they actually told police and suspended the priest! There are real changes, and I'm glad to see them.

    As much as I am not in favor of any religion, if there is one, it should at least live up to it's ideals.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Did you hear – allegations of child abuse against a priest were reported to the Vatican – and they actually told police and suspended the priest! There are real changes, and I'm glad to see them."
      +++ you're giving way too much credit. they helped prosecute one priest? wow. too bad they know of hundreds of others that have been hidden away from the church in the past. they aren't helping prosecute them. i give credit where it's due - but it's not due here. they could do vastly more to protect the children in their care. i find it strange that you give credit to them for helping to prosecute one priest when they've helped sweep 1000s of molestation under the rug. there have been plenty of cases brought up since the new pope took over - they picked one sacrificial lamb while doing nothing to actually address the issue.

      October 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • Akira

        It's a start, Booty. It all starts with a step in the right direction, which this Pope seems to recognize.
        Would you prefer that the statis quo be maintained? I wouldn't.

        October 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Crom

          You don't care as long as they expel a few of their dumber criminals? You think they are changing the status quo?
          Wow, you must live in a plastic bubble. Better poke some more air holes, I think you are not getting enough oxygen.

          October 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Sara

      One thing I don't hear focussed on enough is the fact that all these parents were reporting these issues to the church and not the police. I think the media feels that discussing that issue will look like blaming the victims, but it's a very real problem that parents in any organization would have thought to handle things in that manner.

      October 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    He looks lovely. His date with his favorite alter boy will be very romantic.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • *

      * altar

      (alter boy sounds like a kid with reassigned gender or something!)

      October 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        ....ok think quick AB.....ummm, what I meant was he has "alternate" boys to choose from, yeah that' it!

        October 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • *


          October 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Reality #2

      You are a twit Apple.

      October 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Depends on who you ask. Better a twit than a git.

        October 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Not from the original Reality #2.

        October 23, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  11. Doc Vestibule

    Catholic Canon 282:1
    "Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity."

    Good on the Vatican for kicking this Bishop's gilded butt.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what took them so long?

      October 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • Nada

        Because the previous poops were corrupt as ^*%&

        October 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Even though it took them 300 years, aren't you glad they finally admitted that maybe Copernicus had a point?
        Small, delayed wins are still victories....

        October 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Susan StoHelit

          Meh – Copernicous was a religious cultist, who put the sun in the center only because that was a tenant of HIS religious views – not some noble scientist. If you read a bit more about him – he's a fair bit of a nut job. He got it right, but only by accident because his religious beliefs included sun worship.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I didn't know that!
          Would you be so kind as to cite a source or two?

          October 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • Crom

          TENET not TENANT

          October 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • RC@Crom

          Filling in for Dippy are we?

          October 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Dippy's Aide


          Some people (usually the smart ones) actually appreciate being given a heads-up on their errors (yeah, even slight oopses) - so that they can present themselves better in the future.

          October 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • RC@Dippy's Aide

          It's Dippys', not, Dippy's. Some people (usually the not so smart ones) actually need a heads up when they make errors. Even small ones, so they can better present themselves in the future. Maybe.....

          October 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • The Real Tom

          Wrong. It is Dippy's.

          October 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  12. getting popcorn

    and waiting for Rainer Breadline to weigh in....

    October 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      He's probably the one that posted Luther's 95 Theses on this bishop's door.

      Picture 9. (Wouldn't blame whomever did this.)

      October 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  13. Nada

    That bishop sure wears a lot of make up

    October 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  14. Nada

    In photo 6, is that a Clown Jester to his right?

    October 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk


      October 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Billy

      (Swiss Miss Guard)

      October 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Nada

      So the Swiss soldiers dress like clowns or jesters lol. "Stop or I will make you laugh to death"

      October 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Billy

        yeah – check out youtube – there are some interesting docu-mentaries on the Swiss Guard, showing all aspects of their history and training; their role is not all just costume.

        October 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Nada

          I am sure they are real bad a $$ es lol

          October 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Nada

          I hear the can make a bad a $$ sword out of balloons.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Nada

          When a riot breaks out, watch out when they roll up in the clown car.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Nada

          P. T. Barnum must be the General

          October 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Stephen King's research team

          good nada, good. Thank you. [making notes] I think Mr. King can use some of this..

          October 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Stephen King's research team

          especially the part about the clown mobile. it would have to be an Italian make of course...

          October 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Nada

          I just picture these guys firing their gun and a flag pops out "bang"

          October 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Billy

          Lol, it does bring that to mind. The wiki page shows a regular duty uniform of one color. They evidently are trained in armed and unarmed combat. Arms: Sword, Command baton, Partisan, Halberd, Flamberge, Cuirass with spaulders, SIG P220 (P75), Glock 19, Heckler & Koch MP5A3, Heckler & Koch MP7A1, SIG SG 550, SIG SG 552, Pepper spray & Tear gas.

          October 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Alias

      Do not upset the Swiss Guard.
      They will get all inquisition on your ass and the people they answer to want it that way.
      it would be safer to invite a vietnam vet to a fireworks display in a swamp.

      October 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    the cost of the silk robes the pope wears could feed an african village for a year - not sure he's so different from the german guy.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Nada

      Sounds like the people in the village havent figured out they need to move. Guess they dont know what migration means

      October 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        move where? to what country?

        October 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Nada

          Looking ruins....they figured it out and moved on.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          and where would the hundreds of millions of impoverished peoples in africa go? asia? south america?
          you're making a vastly complicated issue sound like it's as easy.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Nada

          Adapt and overcome, which they are not doing

          October 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          again, over simplification of a complex issue.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  16. Lil P00py

    Hey – let my Bling-Gman go! He representin' just fine.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Lil P00py

      That was to Popey from the P00pey.

      October 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  17. Nada

    I dont care for the kkkatholic church but you have to give the pope credit on this one.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Billy

      Yes, you really should.

      October 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Church lady


    October 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  19. Betty

    What did he do – spend it all on Retin-A?

    October 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Lawrence of Arabia

    Wait, his HOUSE renovations cost that much??? I've been to countries whose GDP isn't that much...

    October 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Akira

      I think the nickname "Bling Bishop" should have been the tip-off...

      October 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • sam stone

        Why should it? It didn't work with Creflo DOLLAR

        October 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.