John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, comes to this vacation home on many weekends. The 4,500-square-foot home has a handsome amoeba-shaped swimming pool out back. And as he’s 72, and retirement beckons in two years, he has renovations in mind. A small army of workers are framing a 3,000-square-foot addition.
This new wing will have an indoor exercise pool, three fireplaces and an elevator. The Star-Ledger of Newark has noted that the half-million-dollar tab for this wing does not include architects’ fees or furnishings.
There’s no need to fear for the archbishop’s bank account. The Newark Archdiocese is picking up the bill.
-excerpt from A Church So Poor It Has To Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace, Feb 19 ’14, New York Times
It’s funny, every now and then I pick up a dry historical text called The Bad Popes and read a few chapters. It’s easy to marvel at early Holy Roman Empire corruption and politicking and cognitively keep it separate from today’s Catholic Church. After all, it’s 2014, right? That’s how generations of Catholics have dealt with the cognitive dissonance of being a willing, contributing member of the perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition. But then you read about archbishops and their four-story vacation homes, and I get a flashback of, oh, every medieval pope one might ever read about, and I think….nope. Just another Saturday. These are humans, after all, and humans don’t create something so magnificent and lucrative and then become selfless. Power and money is simply power and money, and 945 or 2014, that reality remains the same.
Catholics, I’ve changed my mind. I’m totally not atheist anymore. Take me back! I want to be rich.