NEWARK, N.J. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Newark archdiocese is selling the luxurious estate of former Abp. John Myers, who retired in 2017 after spending $500,000 on its expansion.
Newark Cdl. Joseph Tobin announced on Tuesday that he intends to sell the upscale property, noting the decline of Myers' "physical and mental health" is motivating the archbishop emeritus to relocate to his home state of Illinois.
"The archdiocese has begun preparation for the sale of his retirement residence in Hunterdon County," explained Tobin. "After members of his family have collected his personal possessions, the home and property will be sold and the funds will be returned to the archdiocese."
Myers, who quietly paid out a series of abuse settlements in 2005 and 2007 to help cover for serial homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick, retired to the ritzy estate in 2017.
The estate includes a 4,500-square-foot home and three-car garage located on 8.2 acres of wooded land. The home has five bedrooms, two elevators, a swimming pool, a whirlpool, three fireplaces and a gallery encompassing the entire third floor.
In spite of his plush surroundings, Myers was unsatisfied with his estate. In 2013, he announced a half-million-dollar expansion to his intended retirement home. The expansion added, among other things, a 3,000-square-foot, three-story building to the existing mansion.
Blowback from Newark's parishioners footing the bill was intense. Enraged Catholics launched a boycott of the bishop's annual fundraiser. Many slammed the addition as an extravagant waste of parishioners' money.
"I'm disgusted," remarked Newark Catholic Joe Ferri. "The archdiocese is not going to get another penny out of me."
"This is extreme — way beyond what you'd expect to happen," commented Charles Zech. "I can't believe the parishioners of Newark are going to allow this to happen."
"To ask people to make sacrifices and then to live in a sumptuous residence, it makes me very annoyed," voiced Joan Rubino. "In plain English, I feel like people are getting screwed."
The faithful even gathered 17,000 signatures on a petition to stop Newark from misusing Church money largely coming from their donations. Myers turned a deaf ear to their pleas and went ahead with the planned expansion.
Myers has lived full-time on the property for less than three years. The announcement of his move to Illinois comes one month after New Jersey loosened its civil statute of limitations in December. The move by the state opens the archdiocese to a potential flood of lawsuits, especially as Newark was headed by McCarrick from 1986–2000.