Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said Saturday that he'll move out of his $2.2 million mansion and place it on the market in early May, after coming under harsh criticism for building such opulent digs. Gregory said he'll contribute the funds from the sale back into the Catholic ministry.
Lavish spending by higher-ups in the Catholic church has been under fire lately, due to Pope Francis' disdain of wealth and economic inequality. The Pope is known for his affinity towards a more toned-down mode of living – he’s moved into a Vatican guesthouse, and does not ride around in a tricked-out Mercedes popemobile. During a recent trip to Brazil, he was driven in a Fiat, and has been seen in Fords and Volkswagons.
In a similar scandal to Gregory's, German Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was forced to resign from his post due to his $42.7 million project to build a new residence. The Pope had initially refused to completely remove Tebartz-van Elst from his ministry in Limburg, though many associated with the Holy See had called for it. Pope Francis has commented, "Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor."
Gregory announced his decision during a meeting with members of several church councils including the Archdiocesan Pastoral and Finance Council, the Council of Priests and parishioners. In a statement, Gregory commented, "I want to thank those parishioners whose prayers, counsel and concern brought this issue to light and ensured that their Archbishop was properly attuned to the important symbolism of simple actions and the challenges faced by many of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Atlanta."
Here is a shot of the mansion to be sold:
— AJC (@ajc) April 2, 2014
The Archbishop settled into the 6,000-square-foot home in Atlanta's affluent Buckhead neighborhood in January. Gregory wrote on Monday in the Atlanta archdiocesan bulletin, "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."
Image via YouTube