Sunday, 9 February 2014

bishop of bling, sultans of swing

As the Vatican is dealing with how to respond to a very frank and confessional survey, which was solicited at the highest levels, of members' attitudes towards sex and loving relationships that reveal in many ways an urgent need to reform, the Church is also dealing with the unresolved investigation, the verdict still out, into the deportment of Francis-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the suspended senior leader of the diocese of Limburg and also known as the Bishop of Bling for his extravagance.

The Church could probably do without this sort of publicity, and not for the sake of its image and whatever feedback such misguided behaviour or a polling brings but rather I think the Pope would not want the distraction of what's the stuff of headlines and relatively coherent scandals. These detract from real and substantial changes, which in many important ways ought not to be surprising since they are in their job descriptions, and already some quite significant shifts towards to humility, service and inclusion have been accomplished and indiscretions addressed by example, which I suppose might have been tolerated or even culturally encouraged under past regimes. Still, I do wonder—as I suppose I belong to that pastoral-zone, whether he calls himself T-Bartz as his behaviour does seem pretty gangster, not only ignoring run-away cost overruns for his apostolic seat but also taking vacations and maintaining a secret apartment at parishioners' expense.