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Vatican suspends 'Bling bishop' over luxurious lifestyle

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending about $42 million renovating his residence.

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The bling bishop's residence pictured on October 13, 2013 in Limburg, Germany. (Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images)

The Vatican said Wednesday that it had suspended a German bishop known for his excessive spending.

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, 53, also known as the "bishop of bling," is accused of spending about $42 million renovating his residence.

How does a renovation on a relatively small home (pictured right) incur such costs?

Well, when you put in a $20,000 bathtub or $34,000 conference table, it begins to add up quickly.

Not to mention a private chapel that reportedly cost $4 million.

Many people in Germany pay a church tax to the state, which raised over $6 billion last year. Protests around the bishop's residence calling for his resignation began in earnest when the news broke.

More from GlobalPost: 'Bling bishop' called to explain himself to pope

The bishop's suspension comes just two days after he met with Pope Francis to discuss the scandal.

He apparently flew to Rome on Ryanair, a discount airline.

"A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties", a Vatican statement said.

A Church commission has been established to rule on the matter but it is unclear when the decision will be made.

Pope Francis has made it a priority for church representatives to live more humble lifestyles. He himself moved into a small apartment following his appointment rather than the grandiose papal apartment.

The Vatican said: "Pope Francis's decision offers the chance of a first step toward a new beginning in the Limburg diocese, because the situation has become an increasing burden for the faithful there, and in all of Germany, over recent weeks." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/131023/bling-bishop-suspend-vatican-luxurious-lifestyle