BERLIN — German prosecutors have charged a Catholic bishop with embezzlement after he allegedly took a six-figure sum from an elderly parishioner to buy himself a property.

The diocese of Aachen said Thursday that Johannes Buendgens has pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation and is stepping aside from his position as auxiliary bishop with immediate effect.

German news agency dpa reported that prosecutors in nearby Cologne accuse Buendgens of receiving almost 128,000 euros ($142,000) from a 78-year-old acquaintance who wasn’t legally competent anymore.

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.

Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. That kind of reporting doesn’t come cheap, and we need your support. You can help Crux by giving a small amount monthly, or with a onetime gift. Please remember, Crux is a for-profit organization, so contributions are not tax-deductible.