Under the new leadership of Pope Francis, the Catholic Church has been making significant changes. The new pontiff is living in a standard apartment, and he has been spotted dressed in casual clothes, eating with ordinary citizens and homeless individuals on the streets of Rome. Francis also recently announced that he’d be removing the honorific title “monsignor” from distinguished priests, further dedication to return the religious institution to the “church from the poor” he had promised to create.
Francis’s stance is a stark contrast to former Vatican administrations, especially the opinion of former Pope John Paul II adviser and top Church official Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, who infamously claimed that “you can’t run the Church on Hail Marys.”
The New York Times recently profiled the case of Archbishop John J. Myers, a man whose attitude aligns more closely with that of Marcinkus than that of Francis. The publication indicated that Myers, archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, is currently constructing a 3,000-square-foot addition to his 4,500-square-foot vacation home. The 72-year-old’s house already has a swimming pool and is located on an 8.5-acre plot of land in an expensive neighborhood.
According to the Star-Ledger of Newark, the Newark Diocese is paying for the construction of the new property. The archbishop is planning on moving into the property in two years, after he retires from the Church.
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“There are not expected to be any expenses that cannot be met by other real estate transactions, and it will remain an asset of the archdiocese. It is not a personal asset,” said Jim Goodness, Myers’ spokesman.
Despite spending money on the archbishop’s relatively unnecessary addition to his home, the Archdiocese of Newark closed down one of its major schools, Mater Dei Academy, two years ago. The way in which the Church is spending its funds is raising questions about how parishioners’ money is being directed, as well as the overall new direction of the Catholic Church.