Atlanta archbishop apologizes for $2.2 million mansion

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 7:47 AM
Last updated 11:13 PM
  • Follow Latest News

ATLANTA — The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta apologized Monday for building a $2.2 million mansion for himself, a decision criticized by local Catholics who cited the example of austerity set by the new pope.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory recently moved into a nearly 6,400-square-foot residence.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Archbishop Wilton Gregory recently moved into a nearly 6,400-square-foot residence.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory recently moved into a nearly 6,400-square-foot residence. Its construction was made possible by a large donation from the estate of Joseph Mitchell, nephew of Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone With The Wind,” a Civil War epic that made his family wealthy. When Mitchell died in 2011, he left an estate worth more than $15 million to the archdiocese on the condition it be used for “general religious and charitable purposes.”

Gregory said that he has received criticism over the spending in letters, emails and telephone messages.

“I am disappointed that, while my advisors (sic) 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,” Gregory said in a column posted on the website of the archdiocesan newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin.

“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,” he added.

The Catholic leader said he will discuss the situation with several diocesan councils, including a special meeting of its finance council. If church representatives want the bishop to sell the home, Gregory said he will do so and move elsewhere.

The purchase of the sprawling home was part of a real estate deal made possible by money from Joseph Mitchell’s estate.

In his will, Mitchell requested that primary consideration be given to the Cathedral of Christ The King, where he worshipped. The cathedral received $7.5 million for its capital fund and spent roughly $1.9 million to buy the archbishop’s old home, according to tax records. Cathedral officials are planning to spend an additional $292,000 to expand Gregory’s old home so its priests can live there, freeing up space on the cathedral’s cramped campus.

After selling his home, Gregory needed a new residence.

The archbishop said that he made a mistake while designing a home with large meeting spaces and rooms for receptions and gatherings.

“What we didn’t stop to consider, and that oversight rests with me and me alone, was that the world and the Church have changed,” Gregory said.

He demolished the one-story home on Mitchell’s property, which was donated to the church, and replaced it with a Tudor-style mansion. In January, a group of local Catholics met with the archbishop and asked that he sell the large home and return to his old residence. They cited the example of Pope Francis, who turned down living quarters in a Vatican palace and drives a 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.

Comments (19) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
my.voice
4927
Points
my.voice 04/01/14 - 09:29 am
7
1
"I am disappointed that,

"I am disappointed that, while my advisors (sic) and I were able to justify this project........."

There is no apology here..........

AutumnLeaves
8507
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/01/14 - 11:05 am
7
3
Reminds me of that new Roman

Reminds me of that new Roman Catholic church for St. Teresa of Avila's parish in Columbia County. How much is that going to cost? How much space will be useful or just for appearance? Haven't Catholics learned anything from the past? Building huge churches seems a testament to pride, not faith. There is beauty in building simply and for function. There is enough expense involved in maintaining the old, beautiful churches, cathedrals and basilicas of historical note that were built at such great sacrifice without adding more financial albatrosses, of not just the cost of completing their building, but maintaining them, in the future. I am a very disappointed Roman Catholic. Priorities do not seem to be in order of our Christian values.

grinder48
2019
Points
grinder48 04/01/14 - 11:11 am
0
0
apologized
Unpublished

my.voice - The opening sentence says he apologized. Like you, I don't see a quote in the article in which he specifically states, "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" but I'll give the benefit of the doubt and think he said it but it wasn't included in the article. I'm confident that he's sorry, even if only because of the rancor it created. But I think it's ridiculous for a priest (of any rank) to live like this. Is that how Christ lived? Sell the house, get a simple house, use the gain for charitable work and pray for forgiveness.

BamaMan
2548
Points
BamaMan 04/01/14 - 11:18 am
6
1
So...

is he "apologetic enough" to have moved out?

dichotomy
34502
Points
dichotomy 04/01/14 - 12:00 pm
4
1
Hmmm.....now I understand.

Hmmm.....now I understand.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 04/01/14 - 12:07 pm
3
1
Artical

"The Catholic leader said he will discuss the situation with several diocesan councils, including a special meeting of its finance council. If church representatives want the bishop to sell the home, Gregory said he will do so and move elsewhere"

I want to use the word "FORCED" to refer to selling this mansion. I don't believe that you have to be Catholic or any other religion to see this as greed especially when The Pope chooses to live like he does!! This action is worthy of being de-frocked to have designed and built such an extravigant mansion when the gift from Mitchelle specifically stated it was to be used for charity!! The process of keeping "BAD APPLES" is a very bad "HABIT" of The Catholic Church!!!!

CobaltGeorge
165065
Points
CobaltGeorge 04/01/14 - 12:10 pm
5
1
Autumn,

As a Catholic, I can't agree more.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/01/14 - 12:58 pm
0
0
gregory is
Unpublished

about as honest as obama and hargrove.

Grandpa Jones
1063
Points
Grandpa Jones 04/01/14 - 01:10 pm
6
1
...

Another one enjoying leisure at other people's expense.

GiantsAllDay
9865
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/01/14 - 01:37 pm
2
0
"Send me money, send me

"Send me money, send me green, Heaven you will meet.
Make a contribution and you'll get the better seat"
-- Metallica 'Leper Messiah'

jimmymac
42953
Points
jimmymac 04/01/14 - 03:05 pm
0
0
CLERGY
Unpublished

Look at the lifestyle of most so called clergy and you'll see most are running a scam. The Bishop in Germany who built a $43 million dollar mansion makes this guy look like a piker. Preachers are nothing but modern day highwaymen.

Little Lamb
47048
Points
Little Lamb 04/01/14 - 04:38 pm
5
1
Non-apology

I would say that the Catholics in Diocese of Atlanta are poorly served by a bishop who would publish syntax such as this:

“I am disappointed that, while my advisors (sic) 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.”

AutumnLeaves
8507
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/01/14 - 04:05 pm
3
0
Thanks, Cobalt George.

Thanks, Cobalt George.

corgimom
34239
Points
corgimom 04/01/14 - 04:44 pm
0
8
He's an archbishop. He

He's an archbishop. He entertains frequently. He frequently has guests. He sold his former home to the Cathedral, so he didn't get any money from it.

What is he supposed to do, put his visitors at Motel 6 and have them eat at McDonalds?

This is a nothing story.

whyme
2002
Points
whyme 04/01/14 - 08:37 pm
1
0
Not surprised...

...that there are the comments made on here towards the Archbishop. I too agree that this was not a wise decision to build such a mansion when so many are struggling and yet still give to the church. You also again have to take into consideration what was actually said vs. what was actually included in the article(s) because as I have said so often, very little is often written yet people love to speculate and judge. In addition, for some reason many feel like the Catholic Church is exempt from expecting politically correct comments and behaviors from the public. People love to make fun of priests and nuns such as dressing up like them at Halloween in seductive attire, wear tattoos or actual articles of sacred Catholic items, or otherwise make fun of the entire faith. No one seems to make a big deal out of this as they would should someone behave this way towards other religions. Yes, I digressed, but why not? You shouldn't be surprised...

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 04/01/14 - 09:12 pm
2
2
Well, at least he did not spend

Well, at least he did not spend taxpayers' money on lavish and frquent vacations.

Riverman1
87157
Points
Riverman1 04/01/14 - 10:52 pm
3
0
Gone With the Wind

The house that “Gone With the Wind” built. The cynical Rhett Butler knew this was coming.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 04/02/14 - 07:00 am
1
0
Amazing isn't it

Gone With the Wind keeps giving & giving.....one book, but oh what a life it has had..
About Georgia---from Georgia, it hasn't been duplicated in any way.

The imaginaton in that woman's mind was colorful & different. If only she had lived longer, maybe ....more books.

agustinian
718
Points
agustinian 04/02/14 - 07:09 am
0
0
You're Kiddin' Right?

I'm shocked, shocked to see arrogance and tone deafness in the Catholic Church.
Donate that house to the homeless and move into an apartment; and by the way, no one should have to explain that to an archbishop.
How do you think this went down with Pope Francis?

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 04/02/14 - 07:47 am
3
0
Mansions

I am sorry but in my Christian teachings I was taught to not dress as to attract attention; ie a big house of flash, take care of the widows and orphans, the woman that had a few cents but gave all for the love of the Lord. I drive around our great state of Georgia and see all of these monster churches, not just Catholic, and wonder why they cant do like the Christian churches, Church of Christ etc and use a simple functional plan and use Gods money to help those who cannot help themselves. For a mere 7000$ you can build a house in Juarez that will provide for a family of 5, I know and have done it. We built one in 2009 where the man of the house had to leave during the day for his job driving a truck for the state making 40$ a week. When he got off at 4 he worked with us till dark, just to get out of a shipping crate created house. There are now over 200 homes in this neighborhood built by Christians that love their Lord. My point is sell that monster and do some good for the community You represent, and as far as needing a place to entertain guest, use your church resources or rent a ballroom for a fraction of the cost. Go back to basics and do as your bible tells you.God will cover your needs.

dsterling9
991
Points
dsterling9 04/02/14 - 08:52 am
1
0
WHAT A CROCK!

This so reminds me of our own government which puts up monuments and lavish buildings for 'their' use at taxpayer (parishioner) expense. Reminds me of a local church when the pastor's cable sports package was added to the church budget. I argued then that the pastor gets a salary like the rest of us and the need far exceeded his requirements. For too long government and some churches have praised themselves too much.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 04/02/14 - 09:15 am
0
0
dsterling9 @ 8:52

"For too long government and some churches have praised themselves too much"

I think that the average preacher gets TOOO much salery which is not in keeping with Jesus's teachings!! People SHOULD NOT go into peaching to make $40,000 per year, BUT to answer A REAL CALLING of Jesus!! Any preacher who feels that they deserve 10% over their living expences IS NOT doing The Lords work!!

AutumnLeaves
8507
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/02/14 - 10:42 am
0
0
There is no need for a 2.2

There is no need for a 2.2 million dollar luxuriously appointed mansion for an archbishop to entertain guests, dignitaries or not. If you think it's okay, ask yourself, what would Jesus do? Probably throw him and all the "appointments" out the front door, that's what I think.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Augusta's ties to Liberia date back to 1836

Richmond County’s ties to West Africa date back to the 1830s, when plantation owner Richard Tubman wrote in his will that his slaves were to be offered freedom. More recently, Augustans have ...
Search Augusta jobs