24 Oct 2013

Vatican suspends "bishop of bling"

9:58 am on 24 October 2013

The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the "bishop of bling" because of his alleged lavish spending.

The Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, is accused of spending over US$42 million on renovating his official residence.

The Vatican said it was deemed appropriate for the bishop to have a period of leave from the diocese.

Calls were made for the bishop to resign after he was accused of lying under oath about his spending.

The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter.

Bishop Tebartz-van Elst - and his spending habits - had become infamous in Germany, where many people pay Church tax to the state.

The tax raised 5.2bn euros for Catholics and 4.6bn euros for Protestants in 2012.

He was also criticised for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.