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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Do You Think about Bishop Sullivan's House?

My post on the diocesan purchase of the $500,000 house in Camden (which some assure us in "not a mansion") generated a bit of controversy. While some are defending the bishop, other residents of the diocese (I am not one.) disagree with the necessity for the purchase. One parishioner wrote a letter and posted it to YouTube (below).

What do you think? Does the fact that three priests will live there make it reasonable? How about the person claiming it was only $100,000+ instead of $500,000 because of the sale of other property? What do you think?


Fr Martin Fox said...

What do I think?

> I think it's OK that the bishop has a nice house, because he is welcoming people on behalf of the diocese.

However, I think "nice" is a relative term. If he was bishop in suburban New York City, or Washington DC, and other places we can think of, $500,000 wouldn't buy a fancy house.

So the issue isn't cost, but what sort of house is it, in relation to what the people of the diocese have. I don't think anyone would expect the bishop to live in a hovel.

Also, the house should measure up to the actual needs: i.e., the numbers living there, plus whether there need to be guest rooms, plus whether the bishop indeed does regular entertaining.

While this looks like a very fancy house, from a financial point of view, it's possible that having this replace other properties that were being used for entertaining may actually be good stewardship. If so, that analysis could be shared with people.

But that won't necessarily answer all objections, because not everyone would look at it simply from the point of view of the balance-sheet.

> If they paid $500,000, that's what it cost; the sale of other property doesn't change that, since the diocese no longer has that asset.

DisturbedMary said...

Certainly the visual isn't good is it? The pool. The lordly "mansion." I recall a friend telling me that many many years ago he worked for Columbia University, and the then President told him that he purposely kept his office looking "poor" -- worn carpeting and bedraggled furnishings -- rather than beautifully appointed. After all, he told him, he was in the business of asking donors for money. He certainly didn't want them to get the message that he didn't really need it. Whether or not this was a smart real estate decision is not the core issue. I think Bishop Sullivan needs to think more about how management decisions will appear to the smelly sheep whose many pastures have been closed or sold off by the Archdiocese.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary, you are not the ONLY "DisturbedMary" watching the shenanigans that have gone on in the three closely allied Diocese' including Camden.
There seems to be a large contingency of older Catholic women who cannot figure out where to attend Mass without being a little more tham "disturbed"or more appropriately put ,downright disgusted.