On Sunday Michael Sherrard of Faithful America sent out a mass email to members to sign a petition that was to be delivered the same day to the Archbishop of Newark, another “Bling Bishop.” The petition is calling for New Jersey Archbishop John J. Myers to forfeit his intent to expand his already large weekend residence into a lavish mansion for his retirement.
The petition’s goal was to reach 20,000 signatures, and then submitted to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark via a group of New Jersey Catholics. The petitioners want to make it clear to the New Jersey Archbishop to “drop you plans for a huge retirement mansion.”
According to the Faithful America petition the Archbishop of Newark already has a 4,500 square-foot weekend residence, which consists of five bedrooms and an outdoor pool. A 3,000 square-foot addition is allegedly underway that will apparently use church funds to build an indoor pool and hot tub, three fireplaces and a second elevator, estimated at $500,000.
Archbishop Myers is not the first Catholic hierarchy under fire for opulent living. Pope Francis removed the “Bling Bishop” of Limburg, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst, at the end of March due to misappropriation of church funds for his lavish lifestyle. The "Bishop DeLuxe" is soon to be reassigned in another capacity.
Pope Francis has been steadfast in his message that the Catholic Church is for the poor. As the Holy Father gains in popularity, partially due to his behavior of austerity, the faithful have begun to criticize those Catholic leaders that do not follow in the Pontiff’s footsteps.
The Archbishop of Atlanta was blasted at the beginning of April for a mansion constructed for his own use. However, the Catholic clergyman immediately issued an apology after a public outcry. Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Atlanta intends to sell the extravagant residence, which allegedly cost $2.2 million to build.
Catholics have had enough, as evident from this latest petition to thwart the Archbishop of Newark’s retirement plans.
Archbishop Myers, you don't need a 7,500-square-foot house for your retirement. Please start heeding Pope Francis's admonitions, and put being a good pastor for New Jersey Catholics ahead of building an opulent lifestyle for yourself.
Additionally, the petition against the Archbishop alleges the 72-year-old allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue their vocation, and has been linked to several cases that have allowed those priests to remain near children. Due to his controversial career within the clergy, many New Jersey residents asked for Myers’ resignation, and at the very least have threatened to stop contributions to the Archdiocese's appeals for funds if Archbishop Myers doesn’t forfeit plans for his expansive retirement mansion.