A Catholic bishop in Germany was recently charged with taking around €123,000 — or $142,000 USD — from an elderly parishioner in order to buy a house.
German Bishop Johannes Buendgens allegedly ripped off a 78-year-old church member who wasn’t capable of making his own decisions, though the bishop has promised to cooperate with the probe, according to a report from the Associated Press. He has also stepped away from his official role.
Buendgens said he has since repaid the money.
His superior, Aachen’s Bishop Helmut Dieser, said through his office that he was “shocked” at the allegations against Buendgens.
Why was he shocked? These types of allegations are all too common these days. In fact, less than a month ago, we reported on a pastor from Washington State who admitted to stealing more than $50,000, including $40,000 from a charity fund meant for survivors of a deadly landslide that killed 43 people.
But the fact that I’m not surprised doesn’t mean I’m not appalled. This sort of thing happens because our society implicitly trusts religious leaders even when they haven’t earned it. Unless that changes, these stories won’t go away.
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