to follow the good example he has set for himself. Many of the bishops have got so used to living in grand mansions and having numerous people at their beck and call doing all the kind of work one would expect people working in millionaires’ mansions doing for millionaires… I suppose it must be hard to give up the luxuries just because the Pope is doing without them.
Andrea Tornielli writing at VaticanInsider:
….Bishops follow Francis’ example, renouncing mansions for parsonages
A bishop in Scotland and another in the US have renounced lavish living in exchange for simpler lifestyles.
Clerics have been changing their ways since the scandal involving the Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who was forced to leave his German diocese after faithful protested against the exorbitant sum he spent on his new residence complex, a whopping thirty million Euros. In recent weeks, Atlanta’s archbishop, Wilton Gregory admitted that he authorized an excessively expensive restructuring project for his residence, a mansion that was donated to him. The project cost two million dollars. Now, the newly appointed bishop of Paisley, John Keenan, has announced he wants to live in a parsonage in a low-income housing estate.
The Francis effect is taking root it seems. The Pope has not asked any bishop to copy him: it is a well-known fact that Francis never lived in the apartment reserved for him as archbishop and cardinal, preferring instead to take a simple room in the Curia building. In the Vatican he chooses to reside at St. Martha’s House instead of the Apostolic Palace, “for psychological reasons”, because he likes having people around him. He has spoken about the poverty and sobriety of men of the Church on many occasions but his example is not becoming contagious.
In an interview with The Herald, the prelate said Francis and himself dreamt of a Church that went out into the street and got dirty instead of clinging onto safety. “When people see a church not just giving to the poor and the excluded but being among them and living with them joyfully, then they will really begin to believe there is a way out of the vicious cycle of living for yourself in your own little bubble.”
The Archbishop of Atlanta’s case caused an uproar with faithful writing letters to the diocesan newspaper criticizing the excessive amount of money spent on his new home – a donation from the estate of Joseph Mitchell, a nephew of “Gone With The Wind” author, Margaret Mitchell – when so many people barely have anything to live on. Many of these messages referred to the Pope’s words and the example he is setting: “We are disturbed and disappointed to see our church leaders not setting the example of a simple life as Pope Francis calls for. How can we instil this in our children when they see their archdiocesan leadership living extravagantly?” one parishioner wrote……….