After an outcry from Catholics, citing the modest lifestyle of Pope Francis as an example, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton Gregory says that he will most likely sell a recently built $2.2 million mansion that was meant to be for his personal use, the Associated Press reports.
However, he hasn’t made up his mind just yet and is seeking advice from others in his diocese. He acknowledges that he hasn’t discussed the seemingly extravagant purchase of the 6,400-square-foot home with others in the church hierarchy. According to AP, Gregory has sent documents describing his decision to buy and build the Tudor-style mansion, as well as his public letter of apology, to the pope’s Washington ambassador.
“I intend to speak directly and clearly, but more importantly I intend to listen to them, which I did not do effectively at the beginning of the process,” Gregory told AP. “My heart tells me … they’re going to recommend that the property be sold. But I don’t want to anticipate that; I don’t want to deprive them of the opportunity to grapple with me over the situation. But I’d be surprised if they didn’t.”
According to AP, in an attempt to free up space on the cramped campus of Christ the King Cathedral, Gregory sold his old residence to the cathedral to house priests. The cathedral purchased Gregory’s old home for $1.9 million, and he used funds donated to the cathedral to pay the difference.
The AP notes that the lavish home includes an upper-level safe room, an eight-burner kitchen stove, two dining rooms and even an elevator. Earlier plans had called for a wine room, but that was scaled back, with Gregory saying that he went for the least-expensive brickwork.
“My first question was, ‘What’s the least expensive option?’ That’s what we would do. So yeah, it’s still very expensive … I’m not in any way distancing me from that,” he said.
“Hindsight is always 20-20,” Gregory added. “And obviously, going forward, if the next stage is to sell that house, which as I said was a real possibility … I certainly won’t try to replicate that in a future purchase or rental.”
Read more at the Associated Press.