Disgraced bishop is given a new job in the Vatican

Disgraced bishop is given a new job in the Vatican June 28, 2019
Image via YouTube

GERMAN Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van-Elst – better known to the world as the “Bishop of Bling” who was sacked in 2014 for taking extravagance to levels even the Catholic Church thought were beyond the pale  – has resurfaced in a new role in the Vatican.

Writing for Crux, John L Allen Jr noted that  Tebartz-van-Elst has been appointed “delegate for catechesis” in the Council for New Evangelization – and suggested the move indicates that Pope Francis’s Vatican has an “Ironic Employment Division”.

Why was the bishop sacked? Here the story:

Allen writes:

In case memories have dimmed, Francis was compelled to remove Tebartz-van-Elst in October 2013 due to public backlash against his spending an estimated $42 million on remodeling his diocesan center and residence, including $1.1 million for garden landscaping and even $22,000 for a bathtub.

Originally, the Vatican said the Bling Bishop was being granted a temporary sabbatical outside the diocese. That “temporary” measure became permanent in March 2014, at a time when the Vatican was trying to negotiate an agreement under which Tebartz-van Elst would not be sued by the Limburg diocese in an effort to recoup its losses over the construction projects.

The question then became what to do with him since Tebartz-van-Elst was only 54 at the time of his exile, a full two decades short of the usual retirement age for Catholic bishops of 75.

In the end, Tebartz-van-Elst was brought to Rome and given “a new gig”. Although his appointment is a matter of public record – it’s even on his Wikipedia page  – the Vatican hasn’t made much of a noise about his new role.

Said Allen:

Given that the main complaint against Tebartz-van-Elst in Limburg was that his regal spending habits were ‘unevangelical’, at odds with the witness of Jesus in the Gospels (not to mention Francis in the papacy) and thereby driving people away from the faith, many observers would likely find his present assignment as a top Vatican official for evangelization not just a little bit jarring.

In reality, however, no one probably should be surprised. There’s a long tradition of clerics in disgrace in their homelands ending up in Rome, but in the Francis era they sometimes wind up in jobs that almost seem a private papal satire.

Most famously, there’s the case of Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta of Argentina, who resigned his post heading the Diocese of Oran in August 2017 amid accusations of abuse of power and ‘strange behavior’ (charges of sexual abuse of adult seminarians came later).

The rap sheet against Zanchetta also features charges of financial misconduct, including selling a building belonging to the diocese for $800,000 without going through the proper channels and leaving the transaction off the diocesan books.

Despite that, Francis in 2017 not only brought Zanchetta to Rome but named him Assessor to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the Vatican’s financial powerhouse which oversees both the Holy See’s investment portfolio and its real estate holdings in Italy and around the world.

Once again, it’s hard to imagine a Vatican gig (other, perhaps, than with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) that would seem more ironic given the baggage Zanchetta carried.

He concluded:

Of course, Francis presumably knows more about these situations than any of the rest of us, and he may well have perfectly valid reasons for appointing or confirming such officials to the posts they currently hold.

On the other hand, cynics may simply roll their eyes and say that this is just another example of how deeply corrupt the RCC really is.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tawreos

    the same church that had 1.1 million to spend on landscaping is the same church that pleads poverty when it comes to paying back the victims of abuse they either caused or covered up.

  • Zetopan

    New Pope := Old Pope + PublicRelations(11);*

    *The catholic church is not about to give up having their cash cow (believers) addicted to them. Hence all of the recent Exorcism and Demonic Possession BS to scare the ultra-credulous into staying with the church.

  • Raging Bee

    Well, yeah, it’s more FUN to spend your money on nice things, so that’s why the Church is too poor to spend it on responsible stuff. Sort of like the individuals who take a vacation in Europe to avoid root-canal surgery.

  • TrickyDicky

    This is just the first sign that the Catholic Church is moving into the “Prosperity Gospel” scam.

  • Broga

    “$1.1 million for garden landscaping ”

    I have just bought a new lawn mower for a few hundred quid. I thought I was being a bit extravagant. But my lawnmower wasn’t being paid for by the donations of thousands of poor people who had the squeeze put on them to fatten the coffers of the Vatican. If the $millions come rolling in I suppose extravagance has little meaning.

    “delegate for catechesis” in the Council for New Evangelization.” That sounds like a heavy responsibility. I wonder what it is?

  • Jim X

    RCC is doing a great job in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where 98% of the population is poor and Catholic, and 2% are wealthy, have guns, and are Catholic.

  • Mythblaster

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c15f89d6eeabbee028a2c39bc9b3b29922d5ba800dd519d2e9646a7f36320433.jpg

    The Catholic Church, as an institution, has got to be destroyed if mankind is to survive.

  • Robert McLean

    Is it me or do these Religious “leaders” all have the slightly crazy look in their otherwise brain dead eyes? As there’s very little going on behind the facade, I suppose borderline crazy gives them something to do.

  • Ohyetwetrust

    and fleeing to the USA or die–
    and what was the USA doing in Guatemala in 1954??
    Destroying the country and siding with tyrants.

  • larry parker

    Have you seen the Vatican? They have been into the scam for a long, long time.

  • Broga

    Look closely. The look is unhinged shifty as in “I have one hell of a scam going here, the suckers have bought into it for centuries, and, as the good book says, ‘God would not have created sheep if he had not wanted them sheared.”

  • rubaxter

    Is it any wonder that an organization with no regulation, that prizes words over Reality is plagued by waves of Rhetorical B/S Artists grifting their way to high office within it?

    And sadly, is it also any wonder that an organization that is full of people who truly believe in forgiving the sin of people who are truly repentant cannot seem to adequately discipline the rapacious, serial crooks within it?

  • Freethinker