Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s mansion has become the cause celebre for many conservative Catholics who, stung by their association with other bling bishops, think that the Catholic Left’s campaign against the dwelling places of the one percent is hampered by ideological blinders.
Not the case in some places, like dotCommonweal. Nor here, where we honor the memory of Jadot bishops like those of Hartford and Saginaw where mansions were sold and residences taken up in nursing homes and rectories and even cars.
The archbishop of northern Georgia apologized for excess, even though it came out of one lay person’s pocket, not several. The reasoning behind the original decision seems sound enough. But the people wrote to Archbishop Gregory, and he listened. His response includes four points of failure:
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 …
Wilton Gregory offers to sell the manse and move elsewhere if another set of advisors counsels him to do so. This is about right.
I’m disappointed “advisors” were drawn into the apology. He concedes that his “consulting” about moving was more of a “reporting.” He also refers to the possibility that acts of deference were involved. Insightful.
The fact that a bishop lives or not in a luxury home is irrelevant to the value of such a home to a diocese or on the selling market. The archbishop could just decide to move–I don’t think he needs committees to help with that discernment. A spiritual director. A friend or two. But the man made the statement. Which is more than what’s coming out of other locales these days.