Where would Jesus live?

Relax, Archbishop Gregory.

Wilton Gregory
Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory: Oops! I didn’t mean to buy that house!

You need to stop apologizing for that cherry $2.2 million house you just built in Atlanta. Sure, Georgia’s Catholics are rightfully angry. Of course it’s an ostentatious show of wealth that goes against the spirit and the words of the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

We understand: You had to show up Newark Archbishop Myers, who just put $500,000 of what critics are calling “vulgar” additions on his house. Right?

So stop apologizing. OC Bishop Kevin Vann has got your back!

A $2.2 million mansion? That’s chump change for Vann.

OC Bishop Kevin Vann. He lives a lot better than you do.
OC Bishop Kevin Vann. He lives a lot better than you do.

Almost ten years ago, the OC Weekly ran the blockbuster piece Lifestyles of the Rich and Pious, where Gustavo Arellano listed the property values for some of the most expensive homes owned by the Diocese of Orange. Since the story ran, little has changed, except property values.

Wilton Gregory paid $2.2 million for a mansion—how about a beach cottage now valued at more than $2.5 million?

When the OC diocese bought this Newport Beach property in 2000 for $1.15 million, they handed the keys over to Msgr Lawrence Baird, who was its sole resident in 2004, when Gustavo’s story ran. Now, similar properties (according to Redfin) are going for anywhere between $2.5 and $3 million.

Since Baird is still in charge of the St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island (where the cottage is located), we can assume he is still the occupant of the cottage. And since the cottage is only 918 square feet, chances of a roommate are slim.

“But where should poor Msgr. Baird live?” you ask. Here. He can commute to work like the rest of us.

Then there is the house that Bishop Tod Brown bought in 2004 for (at least) $1.1 million. Because of its location in Santa Ana, property values dropped during the recession and are just now coming back. Houses in the development are back in the low millions. As of December of last year, Bishop Kevin Vann was living in the house. Alone. His meals there are prepared by a cook.

Archbishop Gregory: Do you have a $2.5 million beach cottage and a private chef? How about millions of dollars in other properties across the county? Nope.

See? You’re fine.

Well, maybe you’re not.


5 thoughts on “Where would Jesus live?

  1. Let me the devil’s advocate here. I’m okay with Bishop Vann living where he does. And the cook, too. As Bishop of Orange, he is the CEO, if you will, of the diocese and a Bishop’s residence is where many diocesan functions take place. I have been to the home of my bishop here in Knoxville; it’s nice, it’s in an upscale community, and he opens it a lot to various groups within the diocese for meetings, cookouts, etc. Plus, he shares it with the Cardinal who was his mentor and who is now retired. Mind you, my Bishop’s cook is a nun, and I don’t even begrudge any bishop that, because just as a CEO of a large corporation does, they keep long-ass hours. Theirs is not a 9 to 5 job.

    But . . . that’s the Bishop. I do think a lot has been lost in the priesthood when priests started living apart from the rectories in their respective parishes. Many priests have their own homes, some bought with their own money, some by family, and – *ahem* – I even know of one that was bought by an elderly affluent parishioner for dear Father (I don’t know if she had children, but if so, I bet they would not be happy). The diocesan priests are the “feet on the ground” – they should be with their people. I don’t mind if they maintain a place, as many do, that they bought with both investment and retirement in mind, and use it for their days off (I know of one priest who, while in Rome on an extended stay for further education, was gracious to loan the key to a condo in a nondescript part of the Inland Empire to his brother priests – no mansion, but at least a getaway for those days off). But when they are on the job, it is necessary for them to be at the parish and ready to meet the needs of their parishioners, which don’t always fall within business hours. I have a good priest friend in Utah who is a firm believer that if you allow a priest to live apart from his parish, he no longer belongs and it shows.

  2. U.S. Catholic Bishops are DESTROYING the integrity of civil and criminal courts throughout the U.S., and paying their attorneys BIG BUCKS to do so! And, filing for bankruptcy also generates BIG BUCKS to the attorneys representing the Catholic organizations that abuse the U.S. Bankruptcy courts to escape full moral, legal and financial accountability for crimes that have destroyed the lives of children and families for decades.

    U.S. Catholic Bishops are living in style nowadays….. none appear to be stressed or over-worked, especially Diocese of Orange Bishop Vann who has an interesting smirk on his face….. Cannot help but wonder about a possible resemblance with the pic at: http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2014/04/fbi-seeks-help-identifying-suspected-child-molester-seen-in-video.html/and Bishop Vann. Of course, in the event Diocese of Orange Monsignor Lawrence Baird (who loved suing a victim of priest sex abuse for speaking out–and lives in an ocean-front home) or one of the Diocese of Orange spies, considers this post an act of defamation—it is PERSONAL OPINION, a guaranteed freedom in the United States of America.

  3. Taj Mahoney comes to mind.. of course the Vatican.. and then all the Jesuit houses, properties,schools,rectories (some on ndigenous lands)
    it appears that the M.O. of bishops and cardinals is scoring wealth.. they appear to believe (falsely) they are “entitled”.
    Jesus didn’t appear to own much of anything.. I doubt if he would approve of the catholic church capitalizing on his teachings and using him to accumulate wealth by manipulation,exploitation, rape, torture, stealing, genocide etc.

  4. I would say that it is most appropriate that this wonderful revelation of unbridled excess is revealed to the USA RCC masses (small “m”) on April 1, 2014. Of course, the question is: Do we have just one FOOL or many fools?

    BLING in the North……..Archbishop Myers in Newark, NJ


    BLING in the South……Archbishop Gregory in Atlanta

    It’s all part of the leadership training in “hubris” that is part of their advancement.

    It is so blatantly obvious that many of these leaders have never had to justify and/or explain their conduct and decision-making to anyone. You can tell because they have that “deer in the headlights” look when confronted with such immature, insensitive and un-Christian decision-making and conduct.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Philadelphia, PA

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