Catholic World News

‘The lavish homes of American archbishops’

August 06, 2014

Ten of the nation’s archbishops live in residences appraised at $1 million or more, according to a CNN report.

There are 33 archdioceses and two Eastern Catholic archeparchies in the United States.

Some residences-- such as those of the archbishops of New York and Baltimore-- have historical significance, while others are more recent acquisitions.

One archbishop lives in a 5,000-square-foot home, built in 2009, “which includes a courtyard, a private chapel, a fireplace and a wet bar,” according to the report.

CNN praised Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, and Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland for the simplicity of their living arrangements.


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  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 08, 2014 11:29 AM ET USA

    This is sensational news but in Chicago, for example, the Archbishop's residence is worth millions because of its historic location. A "wet bar" is one with a small sink with running water: anyone can afford wet bar.

  • Posted by: shrink - Aug. 07, 2014 10:53 AM ET USA

    Francis has made a point of simplicity, but it comes late in the game. The problem of episcopal opulence has been with us for several generations. Recall the American Spectator in the 1980s sponsoring the "contest" to "find the fattest bishop"; the joke was pushing the limits, but as in all humor, it was predicated upon a basic truth that bishops as a group are not known for their simplicity of lifestyle. Asceticism has been out of fashion for some time; it's time for its return.

  • Posted by: Jeff Mirus - Aug. 07, 2014 10:25 AM ET USA

    While bishops should make an effort to live simply, it is also true that they typically host meetings and receptions, and often they live with a number of priests. Better not to jump to unfavorable conclusions, given the cost of real estate in many thriving urban areas. It would be tough in the DC area, for example, to stay under a million if your home was also a gathering and reception area. I'm sure, of course, that Our Lord did not have a wet bar. But He did share a glass with his friends!

  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 07, 2014 9:16 AM ET USA

    Did Jesus have a "wet bar"? Just asking ...

  • Posted by: msorensen71798 - Aug. 06, 2014 11:17 PM ET USA

    $1M seems like an unfair and arbitrary amount. Sure, it can buy a mansion in some parts of the country, but it wouldn't buy a and toolshed-sized home in other places. This doesn't mean they need courtyards and wetbars... but a better way to measure the alleged opulence would be basing it on the median home price for the 10 square miles surrounding the cathedral.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Aug. 06, 2014 11:02 PM ET USA

    WWJD? What would Jesus do?

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Aug. 06, 2014 9:29 AM ET USA

    Perhaps these bishops were so busy building their splendid houses that they neglected to attend to the affairs of the priests in their dioceses. That would help explain in part the miserable performance of our prelates in the recent homosexual scandals.