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Archbishop Wilton Gregory apologizes for buying mansion….. April 1, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disconcerting, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, secularism, self-serving.

…..but stops short of saying the Archdiocese of Atlanta will sell it.  Is an apology sincere if it elicits no modification of behavior:

“We are disturbed and disappointed to see our church leaders not setting the example of a simple life as Pope Francis calls for. How can we instill this in our children when they see their archdiocesan leadership living extravagantly? We ask you to rethink these decisions and understand the role model the clergy must serve so the youth of our society can answer Jesus’ call. Neither our 18- or 14-year-old sons understand the message you are portraying.”

So went just one of many of the heartfelt, genuine and candidly rebuking letters, emails and telephone messages I have received in the past week from people of faith throughout our own Archdiocese and beyond. Their passionate indictments of me as a Bishop of the Catholic Church and as an example to them and their children are stinging and sincere. And I should have seen them coming…….

…….Even before the phenomenon we have come to know as Pope Francis was elected to the Chair of Peter, we Bishops of the Church were reminded by our own failings and frailty that we are called to live more simply, more humbly, and more like Jesus Christ who challenges us to be in the world and not of the world. 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.

As the Shepherd of this local Church, a responsibility I hold more dear than any other, certainly more than any configuration of brick and mortar, 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.

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.

I failed to consider the difficult position in which I placed my auxiliary bishops, priests, deacons and staff who have to try to respond to inquiries from the faithful about recent media reports when they might not be sure what to believe themselves.

I failed to consider the example I was setting for the young sons of the mother who sent the email message with which I began this column.

To all of you, I apologize sincerely and from my heart.

But, again, he did not say they are going to sell the property, or put the Archbishop in a more modest dwelling.

Judging from the tenor of the apology – you can read the whole thing at the link – I have to wonder if, absent people being able to point to Pope Francis’ calls for episcopal simplicity and modest lifestyle, there would have even been an apology?  It seems much of the reasoning for the apology hinges on people pointing out the marked difference between Francis’ rhetoric and Gregory’s lavish mansion.  Of course, the reality of Francis’ living situation and that of Gregory’s might not diverge as much as the rhetoric would indicate, but……

This does seem pretty heartfelt, though if Archbishop Gregory keeps living there, what is the apology worth?

Finally, how many bishops live similarly? I can tell you, it’s more than a few.  So it’s a bit odd that a huge reaction got ginned up over just one particular bishop’s lavish home.  Not that I’m sad to see it, it’s just odd.

Our own Bishop Farrell does not live in appreciably more modest circumstances.  Why does one bishop attract huge attention with this, and not another?


1. Dismas - April 1, 2014


2. Woody - April 1, 2014

I think all this is is bad timing on the part of the archbishop. As you can guess, not only is the area where his parish flock located in a very high class and expensive area of the farm,the smell of the sheep in the area of the cathedral is Chanel #5! (I’m hoping that is an expensive perfume) Although I liked former Archbishop Donoghue a lot better (God rest his soul), Archbishop Gregory is not someone who acts like he is wealthy. He is progressive, though.

tantamergo - April 1, 2014

I’m sure some local parish – or certainly the Cathedral itself – could benefit from, say, $1 million in proceeds from selling the episcopal residence here in Dallas.

3. Steve - April 2, 2014

Vatican II document Presbyterorum Ordinis #17…particularly the final paragraph….as to how bishops and priests should arrange their homes.

Actually, a fine teaching for each of us.

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