The Archbishop of Atlanta’s Roman Catholic Diocese, Wilton Gregory, has come under fire after he used $2.2 million in church funds to build himself a sprawling mansion.
Gregory’s church had received a donation from an heir to the Gone With The Wind fortune. The $15 million gift was specifically stipulated to only be used for “general religious and charitable purposes.” Gregory promptly handed $2.2 million of that to the Bank Account of Wilton Gregory Fund.
Over the next four years, Gregory tore down an existing McMansion in Atlanta’s high end Buckhead neighborhood (populated by CEOs, athletes, and musicians) and built himself a 6,000-square foot “palace.”
As expected, the news has left a sour taste in his parishioners’ minds. Marci Maurer-Nunnery told reporters that “They had an opportunity to be heroes, and I think it’s sad they made a choice that is going to cause a lot of friction.”
Laura Mullins, another parishioner, told reporters that “The money could be better spent on parishes that don’t have that money, for children who need help going to Catholic schools. We have to be very careful how we use our money to make sure that it’s used in the most purposeful way for the least among us.”
Gregory has issued a statement, saying “I am disappointed that, while my advisors and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility. 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.”