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Archbishop Wilton Gregory made a public apology on Monday for using church funds to erect a $2.2 million mansion in the luxurious Buckhead district of Atlanta, Ga.
According to Religious News Service, the 6,000 square foot home was constructed with a $15 million endowment by parishioner Joseph Mitchell, nephew of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, when he died in 2011. The apology was prompted by local Catholics who found the spending to be too extravagant.
Gregory told the press, “I 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.”
The Associated Press reports that this recent scandal comes days after Pope Francis met with German bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst to discuss the “Bishop of Bling’s” spending on a $43 million dollar residence. Since taking over the papacy last year, Francis has preached a message of frugality that he expects all clergy to follow, avoiding the "idolatry of money" and "insidious worldliness."
Gregory's Tudor-style mansion includes an elevator, walk-in closet, and two dining rooms. The Vatican has yet to comment on his case.