Photo Gallery Pimping the Diocese

He extols the virtues of poverty and humility, but the German bishop of Limburg enjoys first-class flights and a luxurious new living complex. As the truth comes out about their secretive shepherd, local Catholics are threatening to abandon the fold en masse.
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Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 52, is the bishop of Limburg, a small city in western Germany near Frankfurt. The diocese is made up of roughly 600,000 Catholics.

Foto: Frank May/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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But the bishop (third from right) seems to live a bit more extravagantly than he preaches. Details about a recent first-class trip he took to India have triggered confusion and anger.

Foto: dapd
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What's more, the bishop will soon be moving into a luxurious new complex. Rumors hold that the multi-million-euro complex boasts many luxurious amenities. It has also been criticized for its bishop's chapel and private park.

Foto: DER SPIEGEL
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Tebartz-van Elst celebrates a Mass in 2008: His predecessor, Franz Kamphaus, lived in a markedly different way. He once moved into modest lodgings in a seminary for priests so that asylum-seekers could be housed in the bishop's residence.

Foto: Arne Dedert/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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The current bishop and his chief administrator, the vicar general, have sole oversight over the diocese's assets. Hardly anyone in Limburg knows its true wealth, and financial authorities haven't looked into it. Huburtus Janssen, 74, a well-known priest in the city, say that "the church's members have a right to transparency."

Foto: Arne Dedert/ dpa
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