German Bishop On Leave

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst gets some distance from his diocese in an uproar over overspending and perhaps and overbearing style of governance.

Pope Francis didn’t remove him permanently, but people are skeptical the so-called Bishop Bling could return.

Franz-Josef Bode, bishop of Osnabrück, said the pope had made a “smart” decision which gives all concerned time to review the situation calmly. But in comments to the German newspaper Die Welt, he cast doubt on Tebartz-van Elst ever returning to Limburg.

“There is a fundamental crisis of confidence in Limburg. The situation there is a mess,” Bode was quoted as saying.

I think there’s a theological point to be made about a bishop being connected to his diocese, and permanently. I’ve harped on careerism quite often here. It’s not really a popular point among Catholic conservatives or liberals–each camp hopes its own, however their “own” are perceived, will move up or forward or something.

Liam has commented on Rome’s tendency to allow bishops to clean up their own messes, so long as something essentially theological isn’t transgressed. What do you do with a $40M building project essentially finished? Give it to the poor? Deconstruct it? Ask him to melt down the gold and silver and give the money back?

How long is a good leave? Hopefully the final decision isn’t just put off.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to German Bishop On Leave

  1. John McGrath says:

    The de-princification of the hierarchy: Is it moving forward into a permanent change, or will it be episodic and ephemeral? How committed is this pope to the process of making it happen? Yes, he is committed to the concept, and his practice in Argentina exemplified the concept, but can the de-princification of the hierarchy be institutionalized, as the princification was over so many centuries?

    Of course a de-princified bishop will still hold great formal, moral, ceremonial and executive authority. But can that authority be effectively balanced with humble habits, service to the poor and a prioritization of pastoral work? This pope made that mixture work in his archdiocese. but in the whole church? We shall see.

    As for the bishop’s house in Limbourg, lease it to a hotel chain and let them rent it out as 2-3 luxury suites. Or 1-2 luxury suites and some single rooms. Let the proceeds go to the poor. The next bishop just cannot live there.

    P.S. I tend to comment on the “political” posts. That’s because I reflect on the religious and spiritual posts and don’t wish to say anything until they are fully absorbed, and not really even then.

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