Petition opposes Newark archbishop's retirement home renovations - KMSP-TV

Petition opposes Newark archbishop's retirement home renovations

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NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

The residence of John Myers, the archbishop of Newark, is at the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. It houses four other priests. But in 2002, the archdiocese bought him a 4,500-square-foot weekend home in Hunterdon County.

Now the archbishop wants to deck it out with some costly renovations. Some parishioners say it goes completely against Pope Francis's example of leading a simple life.

"What can I say about priests? I don't believe in them anymore," said Antonio Ramos, a parishioner who attends mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. He said he is disappointed and frustrated.

The archbishop is putting about $500,000 of archdiocese money into renovations at his Franklin Township home, where he plans to retire in two years. Myers is adding a 3,000-square-foot addition, complete with an indoor pool, hot tub, and elevator.

Faithful America, a national Christian group that is known to have a left-leaning political agenda, collected more than 22,000 signatures for an online petition urging Myers to sell the house. Many of their other current petition campaigns include gay rights and a call for Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York to resign.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese insisted the renovations are not being paid for by parishioners.

"The planned construction is being paid for by donations from individuals specifically given for this purpose and the sale of a residential property that the Archdiocese owns but no longer needs," the spokesman said in a statement.

Some feel the money should be used to help the community.

"They should pay housing for the poor not for the priest," Ramos said.

The archdiocese spokesperson said the archdiocese has seen the petition and there are no plans to make any changes to construction.

The Vatican has not issued a position on the matter.

The archbishop is conducting Holy Week activities through Sunday before leaving for Rome next Tuesday.

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