FaithWorld

Pope Francis banishes Germany’s ‘bishop de luxe’ from Limburg diocese

(Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, August 20, 2012/Christliches Medienmagazin pro)

Pope Francis banished a German Roman Catholic prelate known as the “luxury bishop” from his diocese on Wednesday for spending 31 million euros ($43 million) of Church funds on his residence at a time when the pontiff is stressing austerity.

But the pontiff stopped short of dismissing him outright, a step which many German Catholics and the media had called for.

In a highly unusual move, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg was ordered to leave his diocese while an investigation and audit into cost over-runs is held, a Vatican statement said.

The bishop, who met the pope on Monday, “was currently not in a position to carry out his episcopal ministry”. It said he should stay outside his diocese “for a period,” and that it would be administered in his absence by a vicar-general.

Vatican aims to defeat the Church of England — on the cricket pitch

(England’s Graham Onions (4th R) celebrates after dismissing South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (near lower stumps) during the third cricket test match at Newlands in Cape Town, January 4, 2010. REUTERS/Philip Brown)

The Vatican officially declared its intention to defeat the Church of England on Tuesday – not in a theological re-match nearly 500 years after they split, but on the cricket pitch.

The challenge was launched at the baptism of the St. Peter’s Cricket Club.

‘Luxury bishop’ must take responsibility for crisis – German church head

(A car drives past the residence of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst next to Limburg Cathedral (L) in Limburg October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach )

A Roman Catholic bishop under fire for spending some 31 million euros (26.2 million pounds) on an ultra-luxurious residence should examine his conscience over the crisis he has caused, the head of Germany’s bishops said on Monday.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg in western Germany has stirred anger and calls for his resignation among German Catholics and media over huge cost overruns on his residence at a time when Pope Francis is stressing humility and serving the poor.

Pope attacks global economics for worshipping ‘god of money,’ slams “throwaway culture”

(Pope Francis looks on as he leads a mass outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)

Pope Francis made one of his strongest attacks on the global economic system on Sunday, saying it could no longer be based on a “god called money” and urged the unemployed to fight for work.

Francis, at the start of a day-long trip to the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, put aside his prepared text at a meeting with unemployed workers, including miners in hard hats who told him of their situation, and improvised for nearly 20 minutes.

Pope Francis’s interview message heralds change of tone on gays, abortion

(Pope Francis waves from a car as he leaves at the end of his visit to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

A landmark interview by Pope Francis will force conservative members of the Catholic Church to re-calibrate how they deal with gays, abortion and contraception but is not expected to be the precursor to seismic changes in doctrine, papal experts say.

Pope Francis sent a clear message to officials from the highest reaches of the hierarchy down to the most remote parish that they should not be obsessed with structures, rules and regulations and not put people in moral ghettos.

Pope Francis to drive his own ‘popemobile’ inside Vatican City

(Pope Francis (R) is presented with a Renault 4 car during a private audience with Don Renzo Zocca at the Vatican in this picture taken September 7, 2013 and released by Osservatore Romano September 10, 2013)

Pope Francis plans to drive around Vatican City at the wheel of a “popemobile” that is a lot like him: frugal, clad in white, and with a fair bit of mileage.

The 1984 Renault 4 economy car with 300,000 km (186,000 miles) on the clock was given to him by a 70-year-old priest from northern Italy, Father Renzo Zocca, who took the pope for a spin inside the walls of the tiny city-state.

Pope Emeritus Benedict says God told him to resign – Catholic news report

(Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s square, at the Vatican October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)

Former Pope Benedict has said he resigned after “God told me to” during what he called a “mystical experience”, a Catholic news agency reported.

Benedict, whose formal title is now Pope Emeritus, announced his shock resignation on February 11 and on February 28 became the first pontiff to step down in 600 years.

Pope Francis seeks to align Catholic Church hierarchy with the pews

(Pope Francis celebrates mass at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Some say his trip last week to Brazil, capped by a Mass for 3 million on Copacabana Beach, and the 80-minute, unfiltered news conference on the plane back to Rome, were the real start of Pope Francis’s pontificate.

During the flight, he fielded 21 questions on subjects ranging from scandals at the Vatican bank to women in the Church to why he carries his own briefcase. But perhaps the comments that revealed most about the type of Church he envisions came in response to a question about gays in the Vatican.

Pope Francis won’t judge gays, admits not all saints at Vatican, opposes women priests

(Pope Francis talks with journalists as he flies back to Rome after his visit to Brazil July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Luca Zennaro/Pool)

Pope Francis has said gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society, in some of the most conciliatory remarks by a pontiff on the issue of homosexuality. In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil on Sunday night, he also said he could not judge gay priests, an emotive topic that divides Catholic opinion. But the 76-year-old Argentine did reaffirm Church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin.

Francis also stressed the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests was definitive, although he would like them to have more leadership roles in administration and pastoral activities. And he expressed pain over scandals at the Vatican bank during a remarkably forthright press conference, his first since being elected in March to replace Benedict XVI.

Code words and safe phones: anatomy of a Vatican money smuggling plot

(Stacks of Euro banknotes in a bank in Bern August 15, 2011. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener )

To most people, a book is a book. But to Monsignor Nunizio Scarano, a Vatican official arrested on charges of money smuggling, a “book” was a code word for one million euros in cash, a report by the judge on the case said.

“Encyclopaedia,” and “bookmarks” were among other code words that Scarano, who had close connections to the Vatican bank, used in phone conversations with secret service agent Giovanni Zito and broker Giovanni Carenzio, it said.