(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.

“Such prestige projects simply don’t fit with Catholicism,” said local Catholic Raimund Champert.

“The Church, like the Pope, has a responsibility to be humble and lead by example. We are not in the Middle Ages anymore.”