Roman Catholic Church News

Cardinal Dolan, Fuming Over ArchDiocese’s ‘Rich’ Image, Vacations at Mansion

The Roman Catholic Church is the wealthiest organization on the planet. See Dave Hunt’s book, “A Woman Rides the Beast.”

A Woman Rides the Beast PDF

They are so wealthy, that they can accidently find “hundreds of millions of euros tucked away in a particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet.” 

How Rich is the Vatican?

This is an indicator of the The Great Harlot of Babylon from Revelation.

For all the nations have drunk from the wine of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her. The world’s businesses have become rich from her luxurious excesses.” Revelation 18:3

The world’s businesses cry and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargo anymore— cargo of gold, silver, gems, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all articles made of ivory, all articles made of very costly wood, bronze, iron, marble,  cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots, and slaves (that is, human souls)—” Revelation 18:11-13

SLOATSBURG, N.Y. — The luxurious home, given to the Archdiocese of New York in December 2015, is an eight-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot manor house on seven lakefront acres here, with a private tennis court, outdoor pool and 70-foot indoor lap pool that resembles a Venetian canal.

The New York couple who donated the home, in Sloatsburg, N.Y., intended for it to be used as a retreat house, a place where hardworking priests could relax and decompress.

But the forest-framed residence, where Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has vacationed at least twice in the past year, is now presenting a conundrum for the New York archdiocese, which is already fighting a perception among parishioners that it is “bloated” and “rich,” even as it continues to close parishes and schools, including six school closings announced Monday.

Though it had originally been intended as a retreat house, an archdiocesan spokesman said that was no longer an appropriate use: The house has too many stairs for many priests and would have only seven rooms for guests. The idea is also opposed by the homeowners association of the Pierson Lakes gated community, to which the house belongs.

The couple, Amanda Bowman and Dr. David Levy, donated the home because they could not sell it for their asking price — which was $8 million at one point — and because Ms. Bowman had wanted it to be enjoyed as her family had enjoyed it. The couple had the home custom built in 1996 as a country retreat for themselves and their six children. Adorned with four fireplaces and grand circular staircase framed by murals and a dome painted with clouds, the house was listed in 2009 for $8 million, then in 2012 for $4.95 million and for $3.5 million in 2015.

Photographs on the real estate website Trulia show a mansion with sweeping grounds, a gazebo and a private dock. The most recent tax assessment lists its market value at $2.2 million.

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Pierson Lakes, the gated community in Sloatsburg, N.Y., where a multimillion-dollar manor house donated to the archdiocese is located. Many in the homeowners association oppose allowing the house to become a retreat for priests. CreditFred R. Conrad for The New York Times

The archdiocesan spokesman, Joe Zwilling, said that the archdiocese would “probably” sell the property at some point, perhaps when the real estate market picks up. But Ms. Bowman said there was a stipulation in its deed: It must be maintained and cannot be sold. “And if for any reason they want to get rid of it, they have to give it back to us,” she said.

Mr. Zwilling said, however, “There is nothing in the contract or any addendum that says that the house can’t be sold.”

Ms. Bowman said that Cardinal Dolan had continued to assure her over the past year that the house was being used as she intended.

“I’m in touch quite a lot with the cardinal,” she said. “And he always says, ‘We are so grateful for the gift; it’s wonderful.’ And there has never been any hint that they are going to sell it.”

The cardinal spent about five days between Christmas and New Year’s and an August vacation at the house. He has also “been joined by priests and seminarians there,” Mr. Zwilling said.

Mr. Zwilling said he was not sure if priests had gone there when the cardinal was not present, but he added: “It’s not his house. Yes, he has been there a couple of times, but he wants other people to be able to use it as well.”

In 2016, the archdiocese registered the house with the Town of Ramapo as a clergy residence, exempting it from its annual tax bill of approximately $90,000. Mr. Zwilling said the original idea was that it would replace Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont, N.Y., a more spartan residence with space for 14 priests that is not “in the best physical condition.”

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Cardinal Cooke Catholic Center, the archdiocese’s headquarters, on 1011 First Avenue in New York. The archdiocese is considering selling the building. CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The luxurious style of the house, at 4 Springhouse Road, is a sensitive subject for the archdiocese, which closed or merged dozens of parishes in 2015 because of funding shortfalls. On Monday, the archdiocese announced further cuts, saying it will close six schools at the end of the school year because of enrollment and money problems. The schools are Saint Gregory the Great in Manhattan; Saints Peter and Paul, Saint Ann, Visitation and Saint Mary in the Bronx; and Saint Peter’s Regional in Sullivan County. The archdiocese closed 30 schools in 2011 and 25 schools in 2013.

The archdiocese has been having trouble raising money from parishioners because of an “overarching problem of mistrust and antagonism toward the archdiocese,” Cardinal Dolan wrote in a biting letter to priests in November.

“Why are we afraid to urge our people to sacrificial generosity?” he wrote in that letter, first published in January by The National Catholic Reporter. “The Evangelicals sure demand stewardship! The Mormons sure do! Our Jewish Synagogues do! Planned Parenthood sure pushes its donors!”

Distrust of the “nasty, mean, money-grabbing diocese” has become so deep that he was “seriously considering” moving the archdiocese out of its headquarters, a 20-story office building owned by the archdiocese at 1011 First Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Cardinal Dolan wrote. That would not only bring in cash, he wrote, but also “help correct this unfair and inaccurate perception of the archdiocese as some bloated, money-grabbing corporation.”

Mr. Zwilling said the plan to sell its office building was in the early stages. “We are very far from any kind of decision at this point, but it is something being actively pursued,” he said.

In the era of Pope Francis, luxurious surroundings have gone out of style for priests and bishops. Pope Francis has modeled a more modest church by rejecting the papal apartment, wearing simple robes and riding around in a Fiat, and bishops across the world have been under some pressure to follow his example.

“No matter how you look at it, it was a very generous donation to the archdiocese,” Mr. Zwilling said of the Sloatsburg estate, which was donated furnished. “So we might as well get whatever use out of it we can while we own it, rather than just have it sit there empty.”

Tuesday afternoon, the Sloatsburg Fire Department responded to a fire in the house. It was a fireplace fire that burned through the wall behind it and caused minor damage, said Sgt. Robert Bassett of the Ramapo Police Department.

Source: New York Times

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