Pope Francis today (October 23, 2013) suspended the free-spending German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst -- who spent more than $40 million on renovations to his palace -- and ordered him to vacate the Diocese of Limburg, according to the Good Morning America website.
The pope -- who has declined to live in the Vatican's opulent papal residence in order to convey the critical need for man to live by Jesus' teaching of humility -- has been urging prelates to adopt a more humble lifestyle, and today's actions were the strongest yet to support that message.
The pope's decision was released in a short statement from the Vatican press office, which stated that the actions of the bishop had created a situation "where in the present moment he cannot exercise his Episcopal ministry."
"Pending the results of this examination and the related investigations on the responsibilities in this regard, the Holy See considers it appropriate to authorize Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst a period of stay outside the Diocese," the statement said. The pope's decision to expel the "Bishop of Bling" -- as he has been dubbed in the international media -- takes effect immediately.