SMYRNA, Ga. - Trying to appease angry parishioners, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Atlanta said Saturday that he will sell a $2.2 million mansion just three months after he moved in.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory announced the decision following a closed-door meeting with members of several church councils at his headquarters north of Atlanta. He publicly apologized Monday for building the residence and will move out in early May.
After the meeting, Gregory said proceeds from the sale will be spent on the local Catholic community.
He sold his previous home to Christ the King Cathedral, which plans to expand it and house its priests there. He said last week that if the church sold the new mansion, he would seek to live in a setting more modest than his current or previous home.
A group of Catholics in Gregory's archdiocese had asked since January that he sell the nearly 6,400-square-foot mansion in keeping with the tone of austerity set by Pope Francis. Elected last year, Francis said he wants a church for the poor, drives in an economy car and lives in a guest house instead of a Vatican palace.
Laura Mullins, one of several Catholics who asked Gregory to sell, praised the archbishop for making a quick decision and ending the controversy. The mansion was made possible by a multimillion dollar gift to the archdiocese.
"He sets the example for all of us to follow," she said. "If he is choosing to use a gift so personally, what does that tell the people sitting in the pews?"