FaithWorld

‘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.

“I am convinced that the bishop of Limburg… will confront this situation in a spirit of self-criticism,” Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops’ conference, told a news conference at the Vatican.

Zollitsch, one of the highest ranking figures in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, will discuss the crisis this week with Pope Francis, who early in his pontificate renounced the papal apartments for a simple residence.

At least 89 killed in Dussehra festival stampede at Indian Hindu temple

(People walk past bodies of victims killed in a stampede on a bridge, near Ratangarh temple in Datia district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh October 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer )

A stampede at a bridge leading to a remote Hindu temple in central India on Sunday killed at least 89 people and injured more than 100, police said.

Nearly 150,000 devotees gathered to celebrate the holy festival of Dussehra at the Ratangarh temple, in a forest outside the town of Datia, 390 km (240 miles) north of the Madhya Pradesh state capital, Bhopal.

German ‘luxury bishop’ flies to Rome for papal decision on his job

(Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 1 June 2012/Christliches Medienmagazin pro)

A German Catholic bishop under fire for huge cost overruns on a luxury residence and alleged lying under oath has flown to Rome to meet Vatican officials and possibly Pope Francis to decide if he can stay in office.

A spokesman confirmed on Sunday that Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had departed but would not say when or how long he would be away. He declined to comment on media reports the prelate flew on a budget airline.

Dissident Catholic priest network pushes for grass-roots Church reforms

(Austrian priest Helmut Schueller arrives for a mass at the Nepomuk chapel in Bregenz October 11, 2013.  REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler )

A new international network of reformist Roman Catholic priests is pushing to give lay people a bigger role in a Church that Pope Francis wants to bring closer to grassroots members.

Speaking as dissidents from six countries met in Austria on Friday for the first time, clergyman Helmut Schueller said the Church should draw on people in local parishes that are under threat of vanishing as the ranks of the priesthood dwindle.

Tunisia Islamists ready to hand over power and run in spring election

(Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, speaks during an interview with a Reuters journalist in Tunis August 5, 2013. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi )

A black and white photograph on Rached Ghannouchi’s desk shows him as a young activist proclaiming the birth of a Tunisian Islamist movement that three decades later would win the first elections after the Arab uprisings.

But having inspired Islamists across the Middle East by rising to power following Tunisia’s 2011 popular revolution, Ghannouchi’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party now finds itself within weeks of voluntarily stepping down.

German Catholic Church takes “luxury bishop” scandal to “pope of the poor”

(Limburg cathedral and a bridge over the Lahn River, 19 June 2010/Berthold Werner)

The head of Germany’s Roman Catholic Church has said he would discuss with Pope Francis a scandal over a bishop who has been criticized for splashing out on a luxury residence and accused of lying under oath about a first-class flight.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, said he took the situation in the Diocese of Limburg very seriously. His decision to take the matter to the pope may raise pressure on the bishop of Limburg to stand down.

Some Egyptian Islamists on haj pray for victory against the generals

(A Muslim pilgrim prays at Mount Al-Noor ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Saudi Arabian authorities have asked pilgrims to put politics aside during the annual haj, but amid bitter divisions in Egypt, some Islamists refuse to keep quiet.

“What’s happening in Egypt now is a disgrace, the army is killing innocent Muslims in cold blood every day,” said Zaghloul Hassanien, the owner of an oil products company in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura.

Huge residence cost overruns cause new woes for Germany’s ‘luxury bishop’

(Limburg cathedral by night, Januaray 10, 2009/Tilman AB)

A German Catholic bishopis facing  pressure to resign after it emerged that his new residence would cost 31 million euros (26.3 million pounds), over six times the original estimate.

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.

Polish Catholic archbishop stirs anger by linking child sex abuse and divorce

(Archbishop Jozef Michalik, Chairman of the Polish Bishop Conference speaks during the opening of the Plenary session of Polish Bishops Conference next to his deputy Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki (L) at their headquarters in Warsaw March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )

Poland’s most senior Catholic cleric said children with divorced parents were sometimes more vulnerable to sexual abuse by priests, remarks that prompted a storm of outrage though the church later said it was a slip of the tongue.

The comments from Archbishop Jozef Michalik entrenched the view among some younger Poles that the church is out of touch with modern society and failing to properly confront allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Vatican tells bishops not to reform faster than Pope Francis does

(Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, March 5, 2006)

The Vatican warned bishops on Tuesday not to reform faster than Pope Francis, after a German diocese said that some divorced and remarried Catholics would now be allowed to receive communion and other sacraments.

Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi, announcing the pope would hold a special synod of bishops in October 2014 to discuss issues facing the family, said local churches that come up with their own reforms in the meantime could create confusion.

Pope Francis has indicated he could consider exceptions to a Church law that bars remarried Catholics from the sacraments because Rome considers marriage to be inviolable. Many bishops have mentioned this as a growing problem in their dioceses.