German bishop faces Rome grilling over lavish lifestyle
BERLIN (AP) - A German bishop under fire for lavish spending travelled to Rome on Sunday for talks at the Vatican, placing his future in the hands of a pope who has espoused a simple lifestyle.
Allegations of lavish spending by the Reverend Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, bishop of Limburg, have stirred controversy among Roman Catholics in the country where Martin Luther launched the Reformation five centuries ago in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the church.
A spokesman for the diocese of Limburg, Mr Martin Wind, told the German news agency dpa that Rev Tebartz-van Elst was meeting with church officials in Rome but gave no further details. German media said he made the trip aboard a budget airline.
At the centre of the controversy is the 31 million euro (S$52 million) price tag for the construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations. Rev Tebartz-van Elst told the Bild newspaper that the bill was actually for 10 projects, and there were additional costs because of regulations on buildings under historical protection.