Pope appoints successor to German ‘bling bishop’

July 1, 2016 GMT

BERLIN (AP) — Pope Francis has appointed a new bishop to lead Germany’s Limburg diocese, ending a more than two-year hiatus after he removed the previous bishop amid an uproar over his costly new residence.

The western German diocese said Friday that Monsignor Georg Baetzing will take the job, succeeding Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. The 55-year-old Baetzing is currently vicar-general of the Trier diocese.

The pope temporarily expelled Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October 2013 pending a church inquiry into his 31 million-euro ($34.4-million) new residence complex. Francis then permanently removed him in March 2014.

An auxiliary bishop, Manfred Grothe, has been running the diocese since then. Limburg Deacon Guenther Geis said “we needed the time to work through what happened ... and reorganize ourselves.”