Could New Pope Please Cancel This American Remake Of 'Bling Bishop'?
Hey, remember the story about the German "Bling Bishop" who got suspended after everybody was outraged by the $55 million cost of renovating his personal residence? Right here in U.S. America, we seem to have our own version of an archbishop who's a little like that, too, though on a smaller scale. Take a look at this New York Times story about John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, who's also getting some home improvements done. Now, it's not exactly on the scale of the German bishop's palace -- it's a 3000-square-foot addition to a vacation home that Myers will retire to in two years, not a restoration of an 800-year-old building, and there's definitely nothing to compare to the German place's $20,000 bathtub. In fact, it's almost a bargain at only half a million dollars, which would barely cover the cost of the German residence's solid gold hamster cages (don't ask).
On the other hand, the Archdiocese of Newark is also in significantly less prosperous shape -- it had to close two of its schools in 2012 due to declining enrollment and lack of funding. But there are funds available -- through the sale of other diocese properties -- empty school buildings? They don't say -- to cover the addition to the archbishop's residence.
And it is going to be pretty nice, even without a $4 million chapel: Myers's new 3-story wing will have "an indoor exercise pool, three fireplaces and an elevator," though a spokesman for the archdiocese does emphasize that this is going to be a home for a retiring archbishop, so please don't call it a "hot tub" when it's really a whirlpool. Mercy sakes, don't most retired people get three-story additions to their homes?
Oh, and there's one other detail that doesn't have anything to do with the house, but with its occupant: Myers has presided over an archdiocese where priests accused of sexual abuse of children were still working, though not with kids. Except for the one who was found to be working with a youth ministry in Newark. In a letter to parishioners, Myers didn't apologize or even admit that the archdiocese could have handled the cases more appropriately:
He conceded not a stumble. Those who claim, he wrote, that he and the church had not protected children were “simply evil, wrong, immoral and seemingly focused on their own self-aggrandizement.”
And then there's Myers's charming tendency to hint that priests who have criticized the church are probably gay.
And so, while Myers and his house can't begin to match financial excesses managed by the Bishop of Limburg, we'd really like to hope that Pope Francis might make one of his celebrated surprise phone calls to the Archdiocese of Newark, so maybe he could remind Archbishop Myers about that whole "value of self-denial" thing that he's so big on. If nothing else, it would be fun to imagine Myers's facial contortions during that conversation.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.