Pope expels 'luxury bishop' from diocese after scandal

5:35 AM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
Picture taken on September 15, 2013 shows Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst during a mass in Koenigstein, central Germany. Hamburg's Public Prosecutor filed an indictment on October 10, 2013 against the controversial Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst (FREDRIK VON ERICHSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has temporarily expelled a German bishop from his diocese because of a scandal over a 31-million-euro project to build a new residence and related renovations.

The Vatican didn't say Wednesday if Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst would permanently leave the diocese of Limburg. But it said Limberg's newly named vicar general, Monsignor Wolfgang Roesch, would administer the diocese during Tebartz-van Elst's "period of time away."

In a statement, the Vatican said the situation in the diocese had become such that Tebartz-van Elst "could no longer exercise his episcopal ministry."

The decision was taken after Tebartz-van Elst met with Francis on Monday.

The bishop has defended the renovation, saying it involved 10 different projects and that there were additional costs because of regulations on buildings under historical protection.

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