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Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta, has apologized for building a $2.2 million mansion for himself, a decision criticized by local Catholics who cited the example of austerity set by the new pope.

Archbishop Gregory recently moved into a nearly 6,400-square-foot residence. The mansion’s construction was made possible by a large donation from the estate of Joseph Mitchell, nephew of “Gone With The Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. When Joseph Mitchell passed away in 2011, he left an estate worth more than $15 million to the archdiocese on the condition it be used for “general religious and charitable purposes.”

Gregory said that he has received criticism over the spending in letters, emails and telephone messages. He apologized in a column posted on the website of the archdiocesan newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin. Archbishop Gregory said he will discuss the situation with several diocesan councils, including a special meeting of its finance council. If church representatives want Gregory to sell the mansion, Gregory said he will do so and move elsewhere.


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