|Before Francis and Benedict exchanged the brotherly kiss the latter|
had taken off his white zucchetto (skullcap) as a sign of deference (©afp).
|Pope Francis puts the cardinal's hat on Gerhard Ludwig Müller's head (©dpa)|
Among the new cardinal's distinguished guests there were people well known in Germany as Gloria, the Princess of Thurn and Taxis, Ernst von Freyberg, the CIO of the Banco di Vaticano, Hermann Gröhe, Christian Democrat and German Federal Minister of Health, and unexpectedly Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the still Bishop of Limburg.
Remember my blog about the ugliest word (Unwort) of the year 2013? The word was GroKo for Grand Coalition, but the word Protz-Bischof came in second, and the ostentatious bishop is nobody else than Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.
The story goes like this: In 2004 Limburg's cathedral chapter proposed to re-build the episcopal see. Following some protests about the costs, the chapter decided at the end of 2007 to cap the expenses at 1.65 million euro. This ceiling was raised to 2 million in February 2008 and had eventually increased to 5.5 million in 2012. When the diocesan center opened in June 2013, the total building costs were given as 9,85 million euro. Germany's Catholics were appalled.
|The Protzbau of Bishop Tebartz-van Elst seen from Limburg's cathedral on the right.|
Note the atrium in the middle of the building complex (©epa/dpa)
Meanwhile, the total costs are estimated to be even higher than 31 million euro, and it appears that money collected for the poor had been (ab)used on the project.
Germany is one of the very few countries in the world where people compulsory pay an up to 10% addition to their regular tax as a church tax (either to the Catholic or the Lutheran Church). Catholics thinking about their tax money being spent on the bishop's luxury presently leave their Church by the thousands just to avoid paying the church tax.
|The bishop proudly presents his atrium with fountain (©alliance/dpa)|