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. El Pibe

    Why is bishop Franz wearing all that make up?? Trying to make Kim Kardashian jealous?

    October 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The day I dress up in clown makeup, a penis hat and a dress please shoot me dead.

      October 24, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • guest

        HEY! Without reading your comment my wife looked at this guy's picture and said, "Who is that? What a clown, and that thing on his head looks like a fish's mouth! What a pagan!

        October 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • Colin

          How DARE you.

          October 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Akira

      He looks quite...FABulous, doesn't he?

      October 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  2. Moderate this

    You free speech denying commie son of a b itch. Legal action pending !

    October 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Brad

      I'm a rad lawyer and work for cheap! Email me.

      October 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
      • Brad


        October 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • EZ

      Good. Then we'll all finally get to know who you are in real life. It'll be hilarious!

      October 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  3. Brad

    Who deleted all by rad posts?

    October 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Brad

      Who deleted all my rad posts? Who changed "my" to say "by". What is going on?

      October 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    this bishop didn't know the drill. you only get to keep half the money you fleece from gullible cult followers - you have to send the other half home to big daddy pope at the vatican. how else can he buy those hand tailored silk robes?

    October 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Nepal

      My country creates those robes. If, as you suggest, he stop buying them, hundreds of people would starve to death.

      October 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        yes, and by your logic, we should build him a jet out of gold, because that'll give lots of people jobs.

        October 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • Nepal

          By your logic we shouldn't buy anything and all just starve to death.

          October 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  5. Brad

    King of the rad mountain. Brad!

    October 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Brad

      This rad post is still up, but they deleted all the responses saying how rad it is? Why?

      October 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  6. Brother Maynard

    "Preachers of L.A." can take inspiration from Bshp Elst.

    October 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  7. R.M. Goodswell

    Yeah they recalled the good Bishop back to Rome....He's probably staying in the Papal Apartments that aren't being used.

    Exactly how is housing the Pope and his staff in a Hotel saving money anyway?

    October 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Brad


      October 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  8. Brad

    I'm Brad and I'm rad.

    October 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  9. palintwit

    Bristol Palin's next novel should be hitting bookstore shelves soon. Her recent memoirs about her life as a drunk, pregnant teenager sold an astounding 1,500 copies and buoyed by this success she has worked very hard to write the sequel. Her adoring public expects no less because after all, the Palins aren't quitters.

    October 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Pig

      You *love* Sarah. You wanna kissy kiss her.

      October 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • trigtwit palin...America's favorite tard baby


        October 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  10. Nada

    Did he put red make up on his ears????????????????????????????????????????

    October 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Madtown

      Along with the funny hat, he does make an excellent clown.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Contrl

      How DARE you!

      October 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  11. Lionly Lamb

    Antagonistic purveyors sublimate the psychic conjugations of others whom are set apart via differential upbringings...

    October 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Neo Agnostic

      I see, putting together random words again in an attempt to sound intelligent and relevant.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired Neo...

        Always a subversive conjugal narrator aren't we being..? Simplistic is your forte not mine...

        October 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • The Real Tom

          Oh look! Loopy Lion is still posting nonsense

          October 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Born2BModerated

      Well bible believer, please tell me how you can think Mary was a virgin?
      After all, she was married. If you are so smart, you should know that it was customary at the time for the honeymoon sheets to be hung out the next morning to prove te bride had been a virgin before that night.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sire Born...

        Why should I even consider such a deviation of your scripted foolery..? Most religious Christians believe that the churches are of the kingdom of God... Those that do believe this are standing upon a lie... The real kingdom domains of God are inside our bodies... Our bodies are atomically oriented buildings where inside do all the godly beings take up residencies... To believe otherwise is but a falseness...

        October 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Born2BModerated

          I see – you dont have an answer so you attack the question.
          Excellent.. I'm convinced.

          October 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Perversion seems to be your speculative analgesic in your written aspects... Mine too...

          October 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Mambocream

        No Bible believer believes that Mary was always a virgin. Jesus had siblings. Catholics in general don't really seem to care about what the Bible has to say. It's all about tradition and that is what the story about Mary always being a virgin is. Tradition, not truth.

        October 26, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  12. Bootyfunk

    and here's a story about a Bishop that got a woman preggers and doesn't want to take care of his own child:



    October 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  13. Age of Reason

    ...."NO one knows if this "jesus christ" existed, and if he did, NOTHING is known about him!"
    WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN Bertrand Russell 1928

    October 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      It's undeniable that Jesus existed. All accredited and peer reviewed historical (not religious) studies as well as history scholars agree on that. If you believe in him as God and savior is up to you; I do.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Boisepoet

        Not true. History I've read does not come to that conclusion. What evidence is there of his existence besides the bible?

        October 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • ThinkForYourself

          There are many Roman (non-christian), jewish and christian historians who wrote about Jesus. He was crucified by Pontius Pilot a roman ruler if you remember. The Talmuds also does not question that Jesus existed. The Jewish people at the time had the most to benefit from discrediting Jesus; however, there history book does not deny his existence.

          October 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Subliminal psychic hogwash... Sudoriferous dysplasia...

      October 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • The Real Tom

        Talking to yourself again LL.

        October 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  14. Born2BModerated

    It was the Christian Theocracy that caused the Dark Ages in Europe.
    The middle east was making advances in science and math. Europe was killing people for contradicting the bible.
    Today, the christians are still at it. They still haven't learned. Okay, they have learned, but they deny it all publicly.
    Christians do not want science that proves the bible wrong to be taught to our children. They are more interested in their money and power than they are in the truth.
    These people did not stop sinning with the children because of what it was doing to the kids, or because they knew it was wrong. They have no moral compus. They only stopped when they got caught too many times to keep covering it up. Until they make all of their findings public I will be against hypocracy and anti-RCC.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Some Christians.

      October 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Maddy

      Actually, the RCC is probably the most science-friendly of all the Christian sects. Their other problems (and there are many) doesn't negate this.

      October 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      There is no reason for any Christian to be opposed to science. If you actually would read about the Catholic and orthodox faith you will know that your statement is completely false. Scientific advancements (for the good) is very well recognized and encouraged by the church. I went to a catholic school and I learned more about science that they will ever teach in public schools.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Born2BModerated

        So why is there a movement in the good ol' USA to keep evolution out of the schools?
        Could it be that with evolution there is no need for a god?

        October 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • ThinkForYourself

          Evolution and God can co-exist and they do. The only difference is our believe of who set things in motion and if it was completely random or directed. I cannot sit here and explain to you how God created the world, but as we learn more and more (through science) we can piece together the stages that happened as part of that creation. Always remember that science is the knowledge of what we observe and how to use the resources and apply the rules that already exist.

          October 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
        • Brad

          Catholics don't want to keep evolution out of school. Have you ever looked at a Catholic school curriculum?

          October 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Alias

          I did not say they could not exist together. Arguing against a statement that was never made is common on this site, but a useless inconvenience to a great many electrons.
          I said you do not need a god if you have evolution.
          Yes, I have seen a catholic school curriculum. Unfortunately, they teach the topic about as accurately as South Park did.

          October 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • Brad

          At Notre Dame?

          October 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • hawaiiguest

          I went to a Catholic school from 1st to 11th grade, and the science curriculum was utter crap. I never even heard the word evolution until college. Here's the problem with what you're saying. There is no overarching , agreed upon curriculum that applies to all Catholic schools in america. As long as they have their religion classes, the diocese doesn't care.

          October 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • ME II

        The RCC doesn't oppose most science, you are correct... because after nearly 2000 years of trying to oppose it they have finally given up.

        October 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Brad

      no one
      2 a fault
      opinions &
      tea leaves

      October 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • Born2BModerated

        Art at it's best.. Truely, an intellect to be admired.
        If only you could have limited each line to one word.
        If only you could see that it wasn't your name we were mocking.
        We need people like you to remind us that egotistical morons have rights too.

        October 25, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Brad

      The Middle East was enslaving European Christians during the dark ages. They lived under harsh conditions, when they died, they just captured more Europeans.

      October 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  15. Doris

    This guy looks like he's trying out for a part. The scene: the Holy Grail has just opened. (Just the first fraction of a second of its opening – he hasn't burst into flames yet.)

    October 24, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • clownsRus


      October 24, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Doris

      Goodness. I think what I meant there was the Ark of the Covenant, not the Holy Grail. (Near the end of the 'Raiders' movie.) He looks like he's just starting to feel the glow; lol.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  16. Brad

    Rad rad rad. Brad is so rad.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Born2BModerated


      October 24, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Alias


        October 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Maddy

          As related to the OP:


          October 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Shouldn't that be:


        October 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule



        October 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Born2BModerated

          I stand corrected.

          October 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  17. Brad

    Brad is rad.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Crom

      Brad is a small nail who should be gripped firmly with pliers and struck repeatedly on the head with a tack hammer. 😀

      October 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  18. Henryo

    The Bible: Slavery good, gays bad; snakes talk.

    October 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • palintwit

      Tea Party Patriots: Guns good, darkies bad.

      October 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Brad

      Eve was tempted by Adam's "serpent". Rad.

      October 24, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • WhatintheWorld

      The RCC: AIDS bad; condoms worse.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • ThinkForYourself

        It's fair to say that if you follow church's teachings there would not be AIDS or any STDs. You cannot ignore the church's teaching in having premarital relations and/or committing adultry and then turn around and pretend to follow the church teachings of condoms. Please don't try and mislead people with lies.

        October 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Now that simply isn't true.
          Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a mutated straing of Simian Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
          It was originally passed to our species via the improper handling of bush meat.
          Unless the RCC has proscriptions against eating monkeys, the disease would still have passed into our species.

          Does monogamy significantly reduce your chances of contracting the disease? Absolutely.
          Does it eliminate the possibility entirely? Absolutely not.

          Perhaps if one is an abstinent Jehovah's Witness (since they refuse blood transfusions) hermit......

          October 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • ThinkForYourself

          Okay, you might get HIV from a monkey. But condoms won't save you from that my friend. The point was implied that the church teaching on condoms is adding to the spread of AIDS. I was replying to that false assumption.

          October 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          But it isn't a falsehood.
          One or the other can contract HIV via any number of transmission vectors that don't include intercourse.
          A monogamous, Godly, Catholic husband can still infect his wife when they have unprotected s.ex.
          The RCCs aversion to birth control is atrocious.

          The condemnation of birth control stems from their belief that God wants humans to spew forth as many cro/tch critters as possible in order to populate heaven and to "be fruitful and multiply" (gen 1:28).
          To purposely countermand God's will to breed like rabbits is to lie to the Holy Spirit in the same way that Ananias and Saphira did in Acts 5 : 1-11 when they held back a portion of their gift to God. God's slaying of that couple is one of the few instances of divine wrath in the New Testament.
          They also believe that many forms of birth control, like IUDs and the pill, are actually forms of abortion and therefore consti.tute murder.
          There is also a heavy emphasis on self-denial as a path to righteousness amongst Catholics, this stemming from Matthew 16:24 in which Jesus says "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
          For Catholics in terrible marriages, God allows separation (and therefore lifelong abstinence) but not divorce.
          It was the apostle Paul's opinion that it was far better to be single and abstinent, but marry if you can't control your loins.
          "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)
          There is also the old fear of witches and warlocks and their ungodly potions which God condemns in Gal. 5:20 and Apoc. 9:21. Today's sorcerers are pharmaceutical biochemists.
          But most of all, the scripture cited by Catholics in regards to contraception is Genesis 38:9.
          In that uplifting story, God commanded a fellow named Onan to impregnate his sister in law.
          They repeatedly got jiggy, but Onan kept pulling out at the critical moment. For this transgression, God killed him.
          Contrarily, the Vatican teaches the concept of Primacy of Conscience.
          "Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters". (catechism of cath. church)

          In other words, if I don't think that using condoms is evil, my Priest has nothing to say about it.

          October 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • ME II

          " You cannot ignore the church's teaching in having premarital relations and/or committing adultry and then turn around and pretend to follow the church teachings of condoms"

          If everyone were just celibate, then there would be no STDs at all... no people either, but no STDs.

          October 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Born2BModerated

      And uppity women are the worst.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Crom

        lame troll

        October 24, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      If you are someone who believes that God himself suffered for your sins, and that same God told you to serve and not to be served, how can you believe that slavery is okay. Please think before you attack christian faith, and stop using scripture out of context as a tool to manipulate people.

      October 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • ME II

        "... God told you to serve and not to be served, how can you believe that slavery is okay. "

        Isn't slavery serving?

        October 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  19. Agnostickids

    Wow bishop Elst – you go girl! Love the blush, and the lipstick is superb baby!

    Yeah...and the Catholic church takes YET ANOTHER nose dive....

    42 million from people living in poverty around the world, to build his own palace. And we thought the dark ages were over.

    October 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  20. palintwit

    The weekend is approaching and Sarah Palin is once again looking forward to reveling in her own enema juices. She claims it keeps her skin looking young.

    October 24, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Brad

      It is 2013, not 2008.

      October 24, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • palintwit

        But she is still very much a public figure. And that means fair game.

        October 24, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Brad

          No, you are just obsessed.

          October 24, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • Joey

          I'm going to have to agree with Brad on this one, the only time I ever see Sarah Palin mentioned anywhere is when plaintwit brings her up.

          October 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Crom

      You are more disgusting than her, so I fail to see why we should care what you say. You talk like a nine-year old, too.
      Nobody else is likely to come up with your gross talk but another nine-year-old. You have to be 13 or over to post here.

      October 24, 2013 at 9:19 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.