Pope holds crisis talks on fate of German's 'luxury bishop'

Francis and Zollitsch

Pope Francis held crisis talks yesterday on the fate of Germany's 'luxury bishop' who is under intense pressure to resign for spending some $45 million on an ultra-luxurious residence, reports Reuters in The West Australian.

The Pope, who has tried to set an example of austerity by renouncing the spacious papal apartments for a small residence in a Vatican guest house, held talks with Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops' conference.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg in western Germany has stirred anger and calls for his resignation among German Catholics and media over huge cost overruns on his residence at a time when Pope Francis is stressing humility and serving the poor.

'All sides are interested in finding a good and rapid solution so that the situation in the diocese of Limburg can be settled and we can find a way out of this difficult situation,' Zollitsch told reporters after his meeting with the Pope.

Tebartz-van Elst, who has apologised for any 'carelessness or misjudgment on my part' but denies wrongdoing, is in Rome waiting to be called to meet the pope and is believed to have met in Rome with Zollitsch, one of the highest ranking figures in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.

Zollitsch, speaking to reporters outside a residence near the Vatican, said an audit commission would begin work on Friday to investigate what has become a major embarrassment for the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.

The German media has dubbed Tebartz-van Elst 'the luxury bishop' after an initial audit of his spending, ordered after a Vatican monitor visited Limburg last month, revealed the project cost at least 31 million euros, six times more than planned.

FULL COVERAGE

Pope holds crisis talks on fate of German's 'luxury bishop' (The West Australian)

German bishops' head meets Pope (NCR)

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