Skip to comments.New Jersey Archbishop Myers builds mansion, hot tub as diocese suffers
Posted on 02/21/2014 11:41:39 AM PST by Gamecock
In a time when Pope Francis is cracking down on the Catholic Churchs extravagant spending, John J. Myers, the Irish American archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, in New Jersey, is spending $500,000 on a three-floor expansion of his 4,500-square-foot retirement home. The 1.3 million strong Catholic dioceses is footing the bill.
Just in time for the archbishops annual appeal, when the dioceses calls on their congregations to donate, Myers' construction of what is being called a palace is getting underway.
Myers 4,500-square-foot house sits on 8.2 wooded acres in the hills of Hunterdon County, in the hamlet of Pittstown. Currently the house is made up of five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a three-car garage and a big outdoor pool. Valued at $800,000, this house, used as the Archbishops weekend residence, is getting a three-story, 3,000-square-foot addition.
This extension is in preparation for the Irish American Archbishops retirement, due in two years, the Star Ledger reports. The 72-year-old Archbishop plans to live there fulltime.
The new three-story extension, now just a wooden frame, will include an indoor exercise pool, a hot tub, three fireplaces, a library and an elevator, according to records at the Franklin Township building department. The extension will cost $500,000, excluding architectural costs, furnishings and landscaping.
A spokesman for the diocese, Jim Goodness, defended the lavish extension and the hot tub. Speaking to the New York Times he said The press says its a hot tub; its a whirlpool. And added Hes getting older there are therapeutic issues.
The extension, according to the diocese will be paid for with the proceeds from the sale of other properties owned by the archdiocese.
Goodness said It is not going to cost our parishioners anything.
When asked if this $500,000 could be spent on meals for the homeless he responded Any extra monies will go to the diocese.
According to the Times, Myers insists that he is addressed as Your Grace and added his self-regard is matched by his refusal to apologize for more or less anything.
Last year a priest who had a legally binding agreement never to work unsupervised with children was discovered working with a youth ministry in in Bergen County, NJ in the Newark Diocese. In Oradell, NJ parishioners discovered the archdiocese had allowed a priest, accused of sexual abuse, to live in the parish rectory.
Archbishop Myers wrote a letter to the parishioners of his diocese saying those who claimed the Catholic Church had not protected their children were simply evil, wrong, immoral and seemingly focused on their own self-aggrandizement.
All the recent reports covering Myers mansion extension stands in in stark contrast to the remarks of the new pope, Francis I.
The newly appointed pope opted against the lavish dwellings of the Vatican apartment and lives instead in a boarding house nearby where he can eat and pray with others. He speaks of a poor church for the poor.
Last week the pope, who drives a Ford rather than the usual papal Mercedes, said If a thought, if a desire takes you along the road of humility and abasement, of service to others, it is from Jesus.
The Times article opens with a description of the Mater Dei Academy, a Catholic elementary school 49 miles from Myers mansion which has remained shut for two years due to lack of funding.
The local crossing guard told the reporter It was a loved place, that school. But the church, I dont think its rich anymore.
Meanwhile, retired nuns get the short end of the stick.
If selling off church properties can subsidize private luxury, can’t the Vatican do a large-scale selloff to benefit starving nations?
Even in a church, it always seems to come back to screwing the taxpayers while the oligarchs play.
“Meanwhile, retired nuns get the short end of the stick.”
It sure looks that way. And it needs to be addressed, and rectified.
That old saying “He’s got more money than the Pope”......yeah, there’s a reason it exists.
To quote the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:
“WHO IS GOING TO SAVE OUR CHURCH? NOT OUR BISHOPS, NOT OUR PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS. IT IS UP TO THE PEOPLE. YOU HAVE THE MINDS, THE EYES, THE EARS TO SAVE THE CHURCH. YOUR MISSION IS TO SEE THAT YOUR PRIESTS ACT LIKE PRIESTS, YOUR BISHOPS, LIKE BISHOPS, AND YOUR RELIGIOUS ACT LIKE RELIGIOUS.
Sounds indulgent. Ahem...
I hate to think of what will go on in that hottub. A “boys weekend with the priest”?
How many kids does he have? Sounds like he needs room for a large family.
I pray this gets the attention of Rome...
Why? So the prelates there can come over to NJ and enjoy the amenities
You got that right. They need to put an end to this abuse.
A satellite image of Archbishop Myers' weekend residence. The image does not show the three-story addition now under construction. (Credit: Google Maps via New Jersey Star Ledger)
The Vatican needs to step in and pull the plug on this.
I have always respected my local Bishop for opting to live in an apartment in a seminary instead of in the traditional mansion (which, I believe the Diocese is selling)
however, one would think simple living is a sign of humility and gratitude for what one does have....and fancy houses and whirlpools for one older man seems very very arrogant....
I'm a crib to casket Catholic, but not a good, church going Catholic....these fund raisers come and go and I ignore them completely....if I want to give, its to my grammar school that I remember fondly....
Pope Francis didn’t live in his “residence”. He let it be used as a school, IIRC, and lived in an apartment with an elderly priest whom he cooked dinner for.
I don’t think great buildings should necessarily be torn down or sold, if they have historical significance or can be used for a worthy purpose.
But this bishop in NJ had better enjoy his hot tub now, because in eternity he will have less comfy accomodations. As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
“It sure looks that way. And it needs to be addressed, and rectified.”
I suspect the Presbyterians and Baptists don’t have anywhere near the holdings of Rome Inc.
Now the Mormons .
And the mission of protestants is to kick Joel Osteen and Rick Warren out of their 10 million dollars homes and make them sell their fleet of jets and start building more shelters for the homeless.
And now for the rest of the story:
WHAT WILL THE RENOVATION COST THE ARCHDIOCESE?
Quick answer: Nothing. The project is being funded solely by private contributions which have been donated for this purpose.
The home which is the subject of newspaper speculation was actually purchased by the Archdiocese of Newark twelve years ago, using proceeds from the sale in 2002 of a more expensive home on the Jersey Shore. The Jersey Shore home which was sold in 2002 had a greater value than does the home which is currently being renovated, even when one includes the cost of landscaping and furnishings.
The responsibility to feed the hungry can be argued; it is, I believe, one of the Corporal Works of Mercy, and if the Church doesn’t lead by example, who will follow? While the miracle of loaves and fishes was funded by a divine act, we can’t exactly get one on demand.
In many municipalities, we see sites, such as St. Anthony’s Dining Room in San Francisco, established to do just that. If donations, one source of its funding, dry up - it’s a bad economy these days - does the Church then turn its back on the mission?
One unfortunate consequence of the Church’s position on birth control - not to be confused with abortion - is that it helps to create more poor and hungry Catholics and non Catholics in those poorer countries devoted to the Church. If decades/century old properties are more important than preserving the lives of faithful followers, there may need to be a change. Yes, we’re meant to suffer in this life, but it doesn’t help to promote suffering for the sake of preserving wealth.
Thanks for your post.
Who would have thought?
WHO IS GOING TO SAVE OUR CHURCH? NOT OUR BISHOPS, NOT OUR PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS. IT IS UP TO THE PEOPLE. YOU HAVE THE MINDS, THE EYES, THE EARS TO SAVE THE CHURCH. YOUR MISSION IS TO SEE THAT YOUR PRIESTS ACT LIKE PRIESTS, YOUR BISHOPS, LIKE BISHOPS, AND YOUR RELIGIOUS ACT LIKE RELIGIOUS.
Luther tried that, too.
You remember how that worked out for him, don't you?
The guy took a vow of poverty, did he not?
That's a common misconception, diocesan (also called "secular") clergy do not make vows of poverty. Bishops are generally drawn from the diocesan clergy rather than the religious, although there are certainly exceptions. That's no excuse for extravagance though.