Atlanta, GA — Wilton Gregory, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta, has apologized for building a $2.2 million mansion for himself. He insists that he did not use the church’s money, but his decision to build such a big house has still been criticized by Catholics local and worldwide. He has received thousands of letters, emails, and voicemail messages.
Gregory released a statement saying, “I am disappointed that, while my advisors 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 added, “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.
Many religious leaders in recent years have been criticized for their extravagant lifestyles. Many pastors or preachers of mega-churches are known to live in mansions, drive exotic cars, and possess helicopters and sometimes private jets.
Just this past January, a group of local Catholics met with the archbishop and suggested that he sell his large home and live in a smaller, simpler residence like Pope Francis, who reportedly turned down living quarters in a Vatican palace and drives a very simple car.
“The example of the Holy Father, and the way people of every sector of our society have responded to his message of gentle joy and compassion without pretense, has set the bar for every Catholic and even for many who don’t share our communion,” Gregory said.