The Cathedral of Christ the King in Buckhead hopes to begin renovations next month on a newly acquired rectory for its parish priests at a cost, including purchase of the property, of $2.2 million.
The residence once housed Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who heads the Archdiocese of Atlanta, but he recently moved into a new, 6,196-square-foot home on Habersham Road in Buckhead. The archdiocese built that home at an additional cost of $2.2 million.
The money for these expenditures came from a $15 million bequest from Joseph Mitchell, nephew “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. How that cash was used has touched off debate within the parish and archdiocese.
Some parishioners think Joseph Mitchell’s wealth should have been used for schools and the poor – that clergy leadership needed to follow the example of Pope Francis, who’s made international headlines with his admonitions to Catholics to live simpler, more frugal lives.
Gregory and the rector, Rev. Monsignor Frank McNamee, said the expenditures were necessary for their living arrangements. The new home, said Gregory, also allows him to “smell like the flock” – to have a place where he can more easily mingle with church members.
Others aren’t convinced. “This,” said Beth Maguire, a Christ the King parishioner, “is an excessive lifestyle.”