The archbishop of Atlanta offended a lot of his parishioners recently when he used donated funds to build himself a $2.2 million-dollar, 6,000-square-foot mansion. Writing for the Times, Michael Paulson connects the Atlanta incident to a broader sea change led by the Pope, who has called for a “a church which is poor and for the poor,” and says it breaks his heart when he sees priests driving around in brand new cars.
As for Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta, he has apologized and promised to “seek guidance” as to whether or not he should put his new house on the market. Weak, but okay:
“While my advisers and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia,” he wrote. “I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services.”
UM YEAH, you think? Also you took a vow of poverty, dude. [EDITED TO ADD: Whoops, not all priests take vows of poverty, per a few helpful commenters. I guess this is what I get for being so judgmental. And I think this means I have officially shed my Catholic upbringing. You win some you lose some.]
Anyway, turns out bishops all over the country are getting the hint and selling their palazzos and mansions and so on and moving into more modest apartments. Meanwhile, New York’s archbishop Timothy Dolan lives on Madison Avenue in something known as “the powerhouse.” Cool.