The Archbishop of Newark is adding a 3,000 square foot addition to his already spacious home amid the rolling hills of Hunterdon County, according to a newspaper report.
The Star-Ledger reports that Archbishop John J. Myers' home is already 4,500 square feet, and includes five bedrooms, a three-car garage and an outdoor pool in tony Franklin Township. The home on 8.2 wooded acres is valued at $800,000, property records show.
Myers has used the home as a weekend residence and plans to move there full-time when the new wing - to include an indoor pool, hot tub, and three fireplaces – is complete.
The construction comes amid a call by Pope Francis for a tighter rein on church spending by clergy. The pontiff has criticized bishops for living like princes.
Recently, the Diocese of Camden took some criticism for buying a $500,000 Woodbury mansion from Rowan University for use as the bishop's home. The diocese, which bought the home in December, said the extra space was needed for Bishop Dennis Sullivan to be able to carry out his duties, such as meeting with benefactors.
The bishop currently lives in an apartment at the St. Pius X Retreat House in Blackwood. The church is selling that home. The Woodbury home, built in 1908, has an in-ground pool, three fireplaces, a library and a five-car garage.
The spending in New Jersey by the church comes as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been selling off selected properties to help offset a financial crisis.
In September 2012, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia auctioned off the St. Joseph's Villa by the Sea in Ventnor for $4.125 million, to a Newtown Square, Delaware County, couple. The landmark residence was used for decades as a place for elderly priests to vacation.
Earlier in 2012, the cardinal's residence, where Philadelphia archbishops have lived since 1935, was sold for $10 million to Saint Joseph's University. The 13,000-square-foot stone house was situated on 8.9 acres.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput moved across City Avenue to an apartment at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Montgomery County.