While Pope Francis calls on clergy worldwide to forgo “living like princes,” it appears at least one American archbishop has decided to ignore the Vatican’s dictates. Archbishop John Myers, leading the congregation of Newark, New Jersey, has decided to add $500,000 renovations to his weekend home, which he plans on moving into full-time upon retirement in two years. The home is already valued at $800,000, according to property records, but the archbishop has apparently determined that the worth and stretch — it sits at 4500-square-feet on a sprawling, 8.2-acre plot — don’t suit all of his needs for pastoring.
The Newark Star-Ledger helped bring the archbishop’s cushy needs to light last month, breaking the story that the archbishop is set to expand his already sweeping home by another 66 percent over the coming months.Â And the price tag they’ve discovered — half a million dollars, set to come from property sales and donations — doesn’t even cover furnishing or landscaping.
Of course, it would be one thing if this renovation were set to create, say, low-income schooling rooms, or homeless services, or even additional rooms for worship. Unfortunately,Â Myers determined his archdioceseÂ must have been sufficiently stocked with low-income services, because he’s opted to instead stock the new expansion with amenities solely for his enjoyment:
The addition will house a large first-floor study and a smaller, attached library. A bedroom and sitting room â€” matching the footprint of the first-floor layout â€” are planned for the second floor. The third floor will house a 28-foot by 28-foot gallery with sweeping views of the property. Plans call for a fireplace on each level.
A single-story “wellness room” will connect the main house and the addition. There, the blueprints show, workers will install a hot tub and a 14-foot by 7-foot Endless Pool, a brand of exercise pool. The poolâ€™s jets provide a current, allowing one to swim in place.
When asked the reason for the remarkable expansion, the archbishop’s spokesman, Jim Goodness, was short:
Goodness said the homeâ€™s expansion was required because Myers will continue his involvement in church activities during retirement and will need office space.
Precisely how three fireplaces, a whirlpool, and a massive gallery will aid in Myers’ need for “office space” remains to be determined. Fortunately, numerous parishioners are not waiting to see, and have responded with the only way they knew how: withholding the donations upon which the archdiocese subsists.
As the Star-Ledger reported, following their initial coverage, hundreds of parishioners called to lodge their complaints. The Pope’s demanded an end to this form of fiefdom. Jesus forewent his material goods. And, between the innumerable sexual abuse scandals rocking the American Catholic Church, it’s not as if the organization is flush.
Now, talkÂ of an “empty envelope” month has begun, and the archdiocese is scrambling. Parishioners in neighboring dioceses have also begun to withhold funds. And rightly so. For, as a priest interviewed noted, “I donâ€™t understand why a 75-year-old man needs a 7,500-square-foot mansion with two swimming pools.” And, increasingly, neither do the parishioners.
Image: Archbishop John Myers,Â via Facebook
Casey Michel is a graduate student at Columbia University, and former Peace Corps Kazakhstan volunteer. His writing has appeared inÂ The Atlantic, Slate,Â andÂ Talking Points Memo,Â and he has contributed multiple long-form investigations to Minneapolis’sÂ City PagesÂ and theÂ Houston Press.Â You can follow him onÂ Twitter.
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‘Name Me One Thing’: Biden Blasts Republicans for Not Being ‘For’ Anything
During his press conference Wednesday afternoon President Joe Biden blasted the Republican Party, suggesting they stand for nothing.
“Think about this: What are Republicans for?” the President asked. “What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.”
“And so, the problem here is, I think what I have to do,” Biden said, noting a change in tactics, “I have to make clear to the American people what we are for,” referring to his Democratic Party.
Republicans during the 2020 presidential election literally stood for nothing: they didn’t bother to craft a 2020 platform.
“What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.” — President Biden pic.twitter.com/b9V8NwUzwC
— The Recount (@therecount) January 19, 2022
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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is taking a page out of fellow pro-filibuster Democrat Krysten Sinema’s book: giving a Senate floor speech during a critical presidential event.
Senator Sinema chose to be MIA during President Joe Biden’s rare trip to Capitol Hill recently to meet with Senate Democrats to shake hands and twist arms to convince holdouts to support changes to the filibuster so they can pass his democracy-protecting agenda.
Senator Manchin has chosen to schedule a Senate floor speech on preserving the filibuster at 4:30 PM ET, smack-dab in the middle of President Biden’s rare press conference, this one taking a look at his first year in office.
News via HuffPost’s senior politics reporter Jennifer Bendery:
INBOX: TODAY AT 4:30 PM: MANCHIN TO SPEAK ON SENATE FLOOR ON FILIBUSTER, VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION
YES HIS OFFICE SENT IT OUT IN ALL CAPS
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) January 19, 2022
He’s not sitting with his own party.
Manchin is talking to Romney both seated in the back of the Senate chamber on the Republican side of the aisle ahead of the WV Senator’s floor speech.
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) January 19, 2022
Watch Live: President Biden Holds Press Conference on His First Year in Office
President Joe Biden will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 4:00 PM ET, discussing his first year in office.
Many across the media are framing this as an opportunity for him to address his “failing” legislative and economic goals while never reporting that Republicans have done all they can to block it – including pushing a pro-COVID agenda.
You can watch live, below, via several different feeds. Most cable news channels are expected to carry the press conference live, and you can also watch online and on cable via C-SPAN.
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