Back in October, I was a guest on the radio show World Have Your Say on BBC World Service. The occasion was the suspension by the Vatican of the Bishop of Limburg, Germany, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van-Elst, known as the “bishop of bling.” The bishop had reportedly recently spent 31 million euros (roughly $41 million) for the renovation of the historic building that served as his residence, inciting his suspension and a Vatican investigation into these expenditures.
Using this as a springboard, the subject of the BBC discussion was “Should Religious Leaders Live a Modest Life?”
Today, Tim Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter records a similar, but perhaps more ambiguous, case with regards to the Camden Bishop Dennis Sullivan:
Camden Bishop Dennis Sullivan has purchased a new residence, an historic mansion that once served as the home of the president of Rowan University.
The New Jersey diocese purchased the 7,000 square foot home with eight bedrooms and six bathrooms for $500,000. The residence will provide Sullivan with more room for entertaining dignitaries, hosting donors and for work space, according to Peter Feuerherd, diocesan spokesman.
He said the bishop will live there “with at least two other priests, maybe more.”
The home, built in 1908, has been on the market for about two years. According to a report in the Camden Courier Post newspaper, the home was purchased in 2000 for Dr. Donald Farish, then president of Rowan University. Under the university’s ownership, the house underwent about $700,000 in renovations.
Some of the amenities include an in-ground pool, three fireplaces, a library and a five-car garage. (more…)