A German Roman Catholic prelate, known as the “luxury bishop”, has been told to leave his residence, the Vatican has said.
Pope Francis made the order after it emerged Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg spent €31 million on a luxurious home.
The move, just short of a resignation, was taken just days after the bishop had met the pope in Rome to discuss the scandal.
The expenditure sparked anger among German Catholics and protests outside his cathedral, at a time when the pontiff is stressing the importance of humility and serving the poor.
The media in Germany has dubbed Tebartz-van Elst “the luxury bishop” or “bishop bling” after an initial audit of his spending, ordered after a Vatican monitor visited Limburg last month, revealed the project cost at least six times more than planned.
Tebartz-van Elst has apologised for any “carelessness or misjudgement on my part” but denies wrongdoing.
The pope has tried to set an example of austerity by renouncing the spacious papal apartments for a small residence in a Vatican guest house. He has also told bishops not to live “like princes”.