Catholic News Service photo
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, celebrates Mass in early September in Limburg. Pope Francis has authorized a leave of absence for Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, at the center of controversy over expenditures for his residence and dioce san center. 
Catholic News Service photo
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, celebrates Mass in early September in Limburg. Pope Francis has authorized a leave of absence for Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, at the center of controversy over expenditures for his residence and dioce san center. 
HAMBURG, Germany — The so-called "luxury bishop" or "Bishop  Bling" of Limburg decided to pay a fine of 20,000 euros rather than contest charges that he perjured himself before the Hamburg District  Court.

The court press office announced Nov. 18 that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had paid the fine, which is about $27,000. Hamburg prosecutors had charged him with lying to the court in a case involving the magazine Der Spiegel.

The bishop had sued for an article alleging that he had flown first class on a trip to India for charity work when he told a Der Spiegel reporter that he flew business class. Although the bishop denied that he said he flew business class, the reporter had a recording of his words.

Pope Francis ordered Bishop Tebartz-van Elst to leave the Diocese of Limburg pending a separate investigation into allegedly exorbitant expenditures for his residence and diocese center. A commission appointed by the German bishops' conference is conducting an audit of the project.