'Bishop of Bling' in hot water over $20,000 bathtub

Pope Francis suspends the German leader after reports of his excessive spending surfaced.

By InvestorPlace Oct 24, 2013 5:15PM
The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst
© Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty ImagesBy Burke Speaker

iplogoPope Francis suspended Germany's "bishop of bling" Wednesday after reports surfaced that he has spent some $42 million renovating his residence -- including $20,000 on his bathtub.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst (pictured) was ordered to vacate the Diocese of Limburg.

The pope was told last week that the final costs may reach $55 million, which is $13 million over the cost of the renovations already.

He was initially granted approval for $7.5 million in work.

News organizations reported that he met with Pope Francis earlier this week to discuss the costs, which include $20,000 on a new bathtub, $1.1 million on a garden, and $4 million on a private chapel.

The Vatican press office released a statement that said the bishop had created a situation "where in the present moment he cannot exercise his Episcopal ministry."

"Pending the results of this examination and the related investigations on the responsibilities in this regard, the Holy See considers it appropriate to authorize Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst a period of stay outside the Diocese," the statement read.

The Associated Press reports that Tebartz-van Elst is also accused of giving false statements in court about "an expensive flight he took to India to visit poor communities."

Pope Francis himself has declined to live in the Vatican's opulent papal residence, and has earned praise from Catholics by reaching out to the poor and impoverished.

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