'Bling bishop' of Limburg explains himself to Pope Francis

Under pressure to resign

The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, dubbed 'the bling bishop' by the press for his extravagances, has been received by Pope Francis after a tense week's wait in Rome, reports AFP on the ABC.

A Vatican statement confirmed the audience but did not offer any further details. Bishop Tebartz-van Elst hit the headlines following accusations he took a business-class ticket on a trip to India and squandered money on luxuries.

His private quarters in a new bishop's palace are reported to have cost about 2.9 million euros ($4.1 million) and included a 63-square-metre dining room and a 15,000-euro bathtub.

Last week, the Pope met Germany's top Catholic cleric Robert Zollitsch for closed-door talks about the scandal.

Religious observers have speculated that humility advocate Francis, who has called for "a poor church for the poor", may decide to make an example out of Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, forcing him to resign.

A decision is not expected to be taken until Zollitsch has filed a report the Vatican has requested on the scandal. The 53-year-old bishop is under pressure to resign after using church funds to build himself the new diocese headquarters, which also include a museum, conference halls and a chapel.

FULL STORY 'Bling bishop' of Limburg called to explain himself to Pope Francis

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