Thanks to Cynthia for this link to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the shameless example of ostentatious wealth from Episcopal Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., who purchased a home in the tony Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights for the tidy sum of $1.6 million. Even in my city of San Francisco, where housing prices are through the roof, that would be a damn expensive home.
The article compares the lifestyles of bishops from the Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist denominations in the Cleveland area. The Catholic bishop, Richard Lennon, for example, "said he tries to follow church teaching that encourage clerics 'to set aside every appearance of vanity in their possessions'". Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Hollingsworth. According to the article,
If that isn't bad enough, one Episcopal lay leader was quoted as justifying this because--and I'm not making this up--"Others in a high position have done the same thing." To which, I say, well duh. If others do it, then I guess it must be okay.
When Hollingsworth was elected Episcopal bishop in November 2003, he, his wife and four children were offered housing by the diocese. A diocesan spokeswoman said in the past the church has bought a home for the bishop and then sold it when the bishop retired.
Hollingsworth's predecessor, Bishop J. Clark Grew, lived in a diocesan-owned condominium, which the diocese sold in 2005 for $207,400.
Hollingsworth chose instead to buy a $1.665 million home with seven bedrooms, seven full and two partial bathrooms and five fireplaces across from a park in Shaker Heights.