The scandal surrounding the removal of German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg should fill all bishops with fear, yes there was a diocesan project which ran over budget and there was a huge public outcry and the bishop hit the popular media as 'the bling bishop' but according to Crisis Magazine the overspend was overseen by the relevant diocesan committee and the public outcry was orchestrated by one of the Bishops own priests.
Spending vast amounts is not unusual for German bishops It is reported they will have to pay about 89 million dollars after they have led their Weltbild into bankruptcy. Weltbild, the publishing house they own hit the headlines when it was revealed last year it also published pornography. The money will be used to keep the business running until a solution for the misbegotten company is found. Augsburg bishop Konrad Zdarsa has declared that the money is paid in order to contain the public effects of the bankruptcy.
The Bishop's real crime was that he attempted to control the "The Lobby", he removed a priest from office who had blessed a same sex couple's union, his other 'crimes' seem to be that he attempted to kerb the power of left leaning clergy and laity, those that have been the rise in the last few months in our own country, those who push for the Church to accept divorce and remarriage, female ordination, the return of married clergy, the abolition of celibacy, a liberalisation of liturgical practices etc.
The Bishop taught the Catholic faith to his diocese which had really thrown it off and accepted an entirely different Magisterium. Far from being the villain he has been portrayed as, he seems to have been the heroic voice crying in the wilderness. Now it seems the diocese will either be absorbed into other German dioceses or have a new bishop appointed by Rome.
What worries me is that the rise of ACTA activity, which seems to have same ends as many in the diocese of Limburg, in the dioceses of England and Wales, with at least the passive support of some of our bishops, will make many of diocese ungovernable or so absorbed in internal bickering they will be rendered unfit for mission for another generation. Again a prediction for the future, before the end of this Papacy there will be many more Limburgs.
Though judging from his words to the delegation of from Notre Dame University in the USA today the Pope seems, at last, to be getting wise to those who wilfully use him as an ally to dissent.
Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!