Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of German Bishop Found Guilty of Embezzlement
The German bishop was found to have transferred about 128,000 euros from a woman with dementia to his own personal bank account after she had given him power of attorney.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a German bishop who was convicted of embezzling money from a woman suffering from dementia.
A German court found Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Bündgens of Aachen guilty of misappropriating 128,000 euros (about $128,000).
Bishop Bündgens was sentenced to nine months suspended jail time and a 5,000-euro fine, CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported.
“It is good for all parties that the Pope has made a swift decision,” Bishop Helmut Dieser said in a statement published Tuesday.
“Personally, I very much regret that the past years have led to this development. “
Bishop Bündgens had initially appealed a July verdict but later withdrew his appeal, CNA Deutsch reported.
The judgment thus officially became legally binding in October. At that time, the Aachen diocese announced that the auxiliary bishop would offer his resignation to Pope Francis.
Bündgens, born in 1956, was ordained a priest in 1980 and became an auxiliary bishop in Aachen in 2006.
When local authorities announced in late 2019 they were investigating Bishop Bündgens, he no longer performed any episcopal duties.
The German bishop was found to have transferred about 128,000 euros from a woman with dementia to his own personal bank account after she had given him power of attorney. Because of her illness, however, she was possibly no longer legally competent at that time. Bishop Bündgens had explained that he had granted the now-deceased woman a lifelong right of residence in a property he had purchased in Aachen in return for the money.
The prelate ultimately repaid the full sum to the family.