Catholic Archbishop Apologizes for Building $2.2 Million Mansion

Image: Catholic Archbishop Apologizes for Building $2.2 Million Mansion The mansion that is the residence of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, right, in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 07:32 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta said he is rethinking what do with a $2.2 million mansion that was built as his residence. The property drew notice in the media and disapproval from parishioners, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The residence was built out of a $15 million legacy left for the church by the estate of Joseph Mitchell, nephew of "Gone With the Wind" author Margaret Mitchell. The money was intended for his own Cathedral of Christ the King parish and other charitable causes.

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The estate included Mitchell's Habersham Road house. That house was demolished to build the mansion for the archbishop.

Gregory's former residence was to be used by Monsignor Rector Frank McNamee of Christ the King and six priests. The parish is to spend $1.9 million from Mitchell's estate on renovations.

After the Atlanta Journal-Constitution broke the story, the archdiocese was inundated with criticism – with some of the faithful contrasting the home to the unpretentious lifestyle of Pope Francis.

Gregory has now issued an apology: "I am disappointed that, while my advisers 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."

The archbishop said he had "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," according to the Journal-Constitution.

The final disposition of the property will be determined after Gregory consults with the Archdiocesan Council of Priests this month, and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in May. He also intends to raise the matter with the archdiocese's finance council.

Parishioner Laura Mullins is not sure this process will lead to the sale of the property. "He needs to speak to the people in the pews if he wants to hear the truth. He needs to listen to his parishioners," she told the Journal-Constitution.

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