Hypocrisy is apparently a sacrament in the Catholic church. A German bishop has been living an extravagant lifestyle — flying first class (at a cost of €7000) to tour Indian slums where poor children eke out a living breaking stones. He’s also been constructing a multi-million euro mansion while the churches in his diocese crumble.
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, 52, doesn’t only embrace luxury when he travels to India to visit poor children and nuns. He also puts a premium on a pleasant standard of living back home in Limburg, one that befits his status. His new, multi-million-euro bishop’s residence right next to the city’s cathedral is about to be finished. But the complex has sparked a mix of amazement, rage and resignation among the 600,000 Catholics in the diocese. Many cannot comprehend how they are supposed to live in want while their bishop splurges.
Tebartz-van Elst preaches to his flock to sate their thirst with water not wine. "Renewal begins where the efforts toward making due with less are made," he has instructed them. "The person of faith is dirt poor and rich in mercy," he once said in a Christmas sermon. And on the Assumption, he declared: "Whoever experiences poverty in person will discover the true greatness of God."
Meanwhile, funds are tight or insufficient across the diocese. There isn’t enough money for the upkeep of churches, parishes are being consolidated and funding for Catholic day care centers is being slashed. All of this is part of the bishop’s tough cost-cutting measures.
I don’t get it. Do Catholic bishops have no accountability to anyone?
At least there are no stories about this guy raping children.