Atlanta Bishop apologizes for building himself lavish home

I know the media’s obsession with attempting to put the Catholic Church in a bad light, and maybe there is some justification for this that I don’t know about, but based strictly on appearance sake, where is the common sense in this decision? Money that was used was an inheritance earmarked for religious purposes only.

Here is the reply by the Archbishop.

Somehow, I found that very touching. He’s certainly taking it like a man - a man of God. :bighanky:

One time I was invited to a bishop’s house for a dinner for men considering a vocation to the priesthood. The house, food, drinks everything was very extravagant. I felt a little uncomfortable as it didn’t seem quite right to me.

I take the point that bishops have to entertain a higher clientele and they need fancy stuff to do so. There have been saints that employed similar tactics, so I know doing so isn’t necessarily wrong. But it just makes me uncomfortable.

I think Pope Francis is right to set this example of humility and simplicity.


Look at that mansion, wow. An embarrassment for the Universal Church.

Here is the article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

(I had trouble with the other link.)

While this new mansion may have been a mistake, I don’t expect our bishops to live as monastics (unless they are, and I haven’t seen one before).

Speaking for myself, I still want my bishop to have nice things. Catholics in America are blessed with material abundance for the most part. Our immigrant ancestors saw to that. I am trying to give my wife and our future children a comfortable life, and I would feel hypocritical tell our clergy they should be poorer than us.

Pope Francis is doing great PR work for the Church and I’m very happy about it, but I think it also unfairly puts the rest of our clergy in a bad light.

Sometimes humility is just accepting what’s passed down to you. Most of our bishops will inherit a nice house and nice things, use them for a few years and then pass them on when they retire–and that can be humble, too. It’s a kind of obedience acceptance in itself.

Plus, imagine how much it would cost the archdioceses of America if they all decided to imitate the Holy Father and live in nice hotels year round instead of the land we already bought for them?

I am perfectly fine and okay with this home. It is nice and big - now the archbishop can invite some homeless people or maybe a few of these undocumented families to live with him. Maybe even some American citizens who have lost their jobs to H1B visa workers would like to stay their? HMMMMM???

If this post sounds mean-spirited so be it. If the bishops want to let every foreigner in this country, nilly willy, then they can put their money where their mouth is and deal with the economic consequences of their opinions

I think you’ve made some excellent points. Besides, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on the daily life of the bishop and what would be an appropriate bar for their standard of living.

Of course the point that the house is really more for the diocese than them is also true.

I suppose each bishop will have to prayerfully discern for themselves what’s an acceptable house for them to live in.

Please tell me why the bishop gets to build a mansion while others die due to a lack of food or medical attention.

Why does he get to ask people who are barely able to afford their own food, tuition, or heat bills for donations?

Why does this bishop still have a job?

That’s such a bummer for me. I love Wilton Gregory. What was he thinking. This just doesn’t seem like his style.

I was so sure he was a rising voice oin the Church. I wonder how this will pan out.

I don’t think a bishop needs to live in a mansion. This just illustrates how out of touch the clergy are when it comes to regular people’s lives. The recession came and is still here despite whatever the press says. People have been affected by this and have had to downsize, cut costs, etc. Clergy doesn’t have a clue since they still get whatever they got before. I also don’t think that they need to entertain in some lavish way. I’m not saying they have to live in a cardboard shack, but a modest dwelling is good enough for most of us and should be good enough for them too.

Yeah thats totally unacceptable. I don’t care what title they have. They should not be living extravagantly. Get a decent house don’t get a mansion. I don’t care if you are the Bishop. I once knew a priest who accepted a gift of a mercedes benz. Now I know it was a gift but it just doesn’t look good that this priest or bishop or whoever are living wealthy when their congregation is filled with poor people.

I daresay there would be a sizable group of complainers even if the archbishop had instead purchased a 1500 sq. ft. house built in 1960.

This is very well said.

Lots of Catholics (and non-Catholics too) are mad at the Church, especially the Bishops. Maybe it’'s because of the abuse crisis or maybe it’s because of their politics. Who knows? But there is a strong current of wanting to punish these men of God for their lives of service to the Church.

It makes me sad.

Giving up one’s mansion is not punishment. There is right and there is wrong. Bishops are our leaders. Our leaders should not appeal to us for donations which we could use for near necessities or even simple pleasure and then use donations for mansions.

I think Pope Francis is living in the guest house. I am sure his quarters are less extravagant than the bishop’s.

Who are these people who are mad at and want to punish bishops?

The actual pope’s quarters used by JP2 and Benedict were also spartan and basic hotel-like accomodation, from what I’ve read. Francis’ big beef seems to be that to get to them, you have to go through administrative offices, which means you get hangers-on here and there.

I like Wilton Gregory and I’m surprised by this story and the story of Meyers in New Jersey, and the guy in Germany.

I can appreciate that a diocese needs a public house for private gatherings, particularly with big contributors, etc. But this should be a stand-alone office.

I can’t fathom why a religious would need a mansion, especially for retirement. Why not find a room at a religious community?

The part I find most interesting from the archbishop’s letter is this:

If it is the will of these trusted representative groups, the Archdiocese will begin the process of selling the Habersham residence. I would look to purchase or rent something appropriate elsewhere.

Notice that he admits wrongdoing, yet he’s waiting for the council of priests to rule on the matter.

At my workplace we try to adhere to policies as much as possible. If our boss asks someone, “Did you tell so-and-so customer about such-and-such repair?” and they haven’t, then the employee will respond in one of two ways. 1) “No, I’ll call the customer right now.” 2) “No, should I call the customer?” The former tries to rectify a problem while the latter only admits to the problem. It’s the latter that tend not to stick around as long at my job.

And so with the archbishop it’s telling that his first instinct isn’t to try and get the money back to where it was originally earmarked. Instead he’s waiting and perhaps hoping that he can apologize without giving restitution. It makes one doubt the sincerity of his apology.

First, this money was left for religious purposes. Secondly, it is hard for many Catholics to see this and then to hear on Sunday how Catholic schools and parishes are closing due to a lack of funds. And to my point in the OP, common sense dictates that this does not make sense when the whole world is watching.

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