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Germany: There once was a bishop of Limburg…

August 24, 2012
Say 'Cheese', Your Reverence!

Say ‘Cheese’, Your Reverence!

…Beloved by the folk of that dim burg.
But the way he spent tithing
Got the diocese writhing,
And now Limburg to him is a grim burg.

On the upper deck of a jumbo jet, he and Vicar General Franz Kaspar had made themselves comfortable in the plane’s first-class section, which offers such amenities as champagne, caviar and a bed. “Traveling first class means you should always be able to expect the extraordinary,” Germany’s Lufthansa airline, which Kaspar flew with, promises.

SPIEGEL inquiries about this luxury trip to the slums triggered a flurry of contradictory reports. Questions directed to the diocese press office were answered by a law firm in nearby Frankfurt. The 10-page document contained a cease and desist declaration with a penalty clause forbidding the publication of the claim that the bishop had flown first-class to India — as well as a €1,890.91 ($2,400) bill for the legal warning. The bishop’s lawyer said that the claim “is untrue” and that his client had “flown business class.”

But after a follow-up written inquiry, the whole story changed a few days later. Suddenly, the truth was out. Now it was admitted that the bishop and his vicar general had, in fact, sat in first class on both the outbound and return flights.



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