(Sorry, I’m a sucker for puns)
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is a bon vivant. That’s usually not a problem – unless you are a church official, and have broken a cardinal rule just so you can keep your high life. It’s somewhat worse if you are a Bishop.
Here’s what happened:
Bishop of Limburg, Germany, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst went on a trip to Bangalore’s slums to help poor children. He traveled there fist class, which, in view of his destination, was a bad choice. Asked by a reporter, he explicitly denied traveling first class. That was a bad idea. When the truth eventually came out, he denied – under oath – his denial. That turned out be Very Bad Indeed: the reporter had the good Bishop on video. Now, perjury is an offense in Germany even if you are a man of god. And so he was handed down a sentence.
A bishop caught out in a lie is bad. A bishop caught in perjury over lying is almost tragicomical. You wouldn’t believe the number of free bible lessons Tebartz-van Elst received over this, all of them focusing on the 8th Commandment. To add insult to injury, many of the lessons were administered by atheists.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here.
You see, it turns out that at the same time, the Bishop was remodeling his home, the episcopal headquarters in Limburg. It transpired that he also employed some ‘truth remodeling’ when he disclosed the cost: What should have cost 5 Million € (6.8 million USD) suddenly ballooned to over 30 million (41 million). Playing that loose with truth unfortunately is also an offense in Germany. Plus, being untruthful with money usually is called ‘stealing’.
So it would seem that the Bishop stole money and lied through his teeth – just to afford his lifestyle. As always in cases like this, the church has one cardinal rule: don’t get caught. It seems Tebartz-van Elst broke that rule. It’s unlikely the church will forgive that transgression.