Pope Francis has authorised a leave of absence for a German bishop at the centre of controversy over expenditures for his residence and diocesan centre, reports the Catholic News Service.
"A situation has been created in which Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst currently cannot exercise his episcopal ministry," said a statement released yesterday by the Vatican press office.
Pope Francis, after being "continually, broadly and objectively informed" about the situation in the Diocese of Limburg, has authorized "a period of leave outside the diocese," effective immediately, the statement said.
A priest whom Bishop Tebartz-van Elst had selected as his vicar general will administer the diocese in his absence, the Vatican said.
The bishop has been at the center of controversy for months over the remodeling and building project in Limburg, which is estimated to have cost about $40 million. German media have dubbed Bishop Tebartz-van Elst the "luxury bishop."
Pope Francis discussed the situation last Thursday with Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of the German bishops' conference, and with Bishop Tebartz-van Elst himself on Monday.
'Big spender' bishop ordered to leave diocese (Vatican Insider)
Pope authorises leave of absence for 'luxury bishop' (Catholic Herald)