How does a Catholic bishop afford a $37 million home?
Think of the hungry and homeless who could be helped with thirty-seven million dollars.
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, bishop of Limburg, was investigated by a Vatican envoy last month after protests in his diocese against lavish spending at odds with Pope Francis's shift of the Church's focus towards simplicity and poverty. The soaring cost of the stately residence next to Limburg's hilltop cathedral was made public by the diocese on Monday and was immediately criticised by churchgoers and officials. "Such prestige projects simply don't fit with Catholicism," said local Catholic Raimund Champert. "The Church, like the Pope, has a responsibility to be humble and lead by example. We are not in the Middle Ages anymore." Christoph Hefter, a lay member of the diocesan council, said: "The cost is shocking, it is beyond belief." Pope Francis, whose simple style contrasts with the more baroque tastes of his predecessor Benedict, whom he replaced in March, said last week he wanted the Church to serve the poor and strip itself of "vanity, arrogance and pride."