(An aerial view shows Limburg cathedral (R) and to the left the ensemble of the bishop of Limburg’s residence along the river Lahn October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay )

A German bishop under pressure to resign for spending around 31 million euros ($42 million) on a luxurious residence said he had been heartened by a private audience with Pope Francis in Rome on Monday.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg arrived in Rome more than a week ago after cost overruns on his residence stirred anger among German Catholics and protests outside his cathedral, at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.

A statement released by Limburg diocese said the bishop was “grateful for the very heartening meeting”. It added: “He and the pope agreed the tenor and contents of their meeting would remain confidential.”

The Vatican gave no details about the meeting, merely announcing it on the pope’s daily list of audiences.