Senior figures within the Roman Catholic church have called for the resignation of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the bishop of Limburg, after it emerged that the cost of a building project on his property in the town has ballooned to 10 times the original estimate.
The new building, described by some newspapers as “palatial”, is expected to cost €31m (£26m) and features a standalone bath worth €15,000.
To add to Tebartz-van Elst’s woes, he is now facing legal procedures for allegedly lying under oath during a legal row with a news magazine.
In 2012, Der Spiegel published an article claiming the clergyman had taken a first-class flight to India, en route to visiting poor children in the slums of Bangalore. Tebartz-van Elst had issued two affidavits denying the claims made by the magazine. On Thursday, Hamburg prosecutors asked a court to fine the bishop for providing false testimony.
The chairman of the German episcopal conference, Robert Zollitsch, announced he would discuss the high cost of the building project with Pope Francis next week.
“I am as surprised by these figures as you,” he said at a press conference. “I am mystified by these figures and will say so to the holy father.”