American archbishop’s retirement home spurs backlash

Excessive costs

Every year, without fail, Joe Ferri writes a $100 cheque to the Archdiocese of Newark for the Annual Appeal. This year, Ferri left the empty envelope on his pew, reports NCR.

'If this is the only way I can be heard, so be it. I’m disgusted. The archdiocese is not going to get another penny out of me,' said Ferri, 70.

Two weeks after The Star-Ledger disclosed that Archbishop John Myers is building a 3,000-square-foot addition on the expansive home where he will spend his retirement, it appears the work will cost the archdiocese far more than the US$500,000 allotted for construction.

Parishioners, infuriated by what they call a tone-deaf show of excess at a time when Catholic schools are closing and when the Pope has called on bishops to shed the trappings of luxury, say they’re cutting off contributions entirely or sharply curtailing them.

Others said they will continue supporting their local parishes but will ignore the annual appeal, which has been heavily promoted in churches over the past month across the archdiocese, home to 1.3 million Catholics in the New Jersey counties of Essex, Hudson, Union and Bergen.

At stake are millions of dollars that support schools, youth ministries, retired priests and Catholic Charities, the nonprofit agency that runs homeless shelters and provides a wide array of services for the poorest residents. In recent years, the appeal has brought in between $10 million and $11 million annually, said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Myers.

While acknowledging the good work the Church does, the parishioners said they believe their complaints will be ignored if they don’t make the point more indelibly with their pocketbooks.

FULL STORY NJ archbishop’s pricey retirement home spurs giving backlash (NCR)

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