October 7, 2013

German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Vatican, after priests and lay Catholics accused him of personal extravagance and lack of accountability.

Stephan Schnelle, Limburg diocesan spokesman, said that, for the bishop, “obtaining the loyalty of priests and lay Catholics will be a big problem. . . . But the bishop has gone through a rough time and seems quite delighted with this outcome.”

Schnelle said the bishop was subject to a campaign of “lies” that started with comparisons between him and his predecessor.

The spokesman told Catholic News Service Sept. 27 that most Catholics in the central German diocese now hoped for a “positive end” to the controversy.

The 53-year-old bishop, appointed in November 2007, was accused of exorbitant spending on a diocesan centre and episcopal residence when other Church premises were being closed in a structural reform.