Atlanta Archbishop Will Sell Mansion Built With Church Money

Apr 6, 2014
Originally published on April 7, 2014 9:29 am

The archbishop of Atlanta is apologizing for building a multimillion-dollar home with money earmarked for charitable use. Anger erupted over Archbishop Wilton Gregory's $2.2 million mansion last month. The Tudor-style mansion is in Buckhead, one of the city's priciest neighborhoods.

From Atlanta, member station WABE's Jim Burress reports:

"Atlanta's Archbishop says he was wrong to spend so much money.

" 'My responsibility is to think things through, which I clearly did not,' he said.

"Gregory sought guidance from three church advisory councils after public outcry over the home's opulence and price tag. The archbishop says feedback from those meetings, as well as his own personal reflection and prayer, led him to the decision to sell the 6,400-square-foot home.

"Gregory says he will invest proceeds from that sale into north Georgia's Catholic community.

"Pope Francis has challenged Catholic leaders to live simple, frugal lives. Last week, a German bishop resigned after news surfaced he spent $43 million on a new home and office complex."

The Archdiocese of Atlanta issued a news release Saturday, confirming that the mansion would be sold after Gregory moves out next month.

"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," Gregory said in the release.

The archbishop moved into the house earlier this year, in a transition that was eased by a 2012 bequest worth millions of dollars from Joseph Mitchell, nephew of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, as the archdiocese's explains in its Georgia Bulletin. The notice adds that Gregory often hosts guests and events at his residence.

The Associated Press has some more background:

"The archbishop has come under criticism since moving into the massive home in January. It has an upper-level safe room, an eight-burner kitchen stove, an elevator, public and private offices and two dining rooms. It was initially envisioned as more opulent. For example, earlier plans called for a wine room and an antique chandelier in the foyer.

"Gregory said he scaled back the costs. For instance, he said he remembered selecting the least-expensive brickwork when presented with three options."

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