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SMYRNA, Ga. — Trying to appease angry parishioners, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Atlanta said Saturday that he will sell a $2.2 million mansion just three months after he moved in.
"I have decided to sell the Habersham property and invest the proceeds from that sale into the needs of the Catholic community," Archbishop Wilton Gregory told The Associated Press after the meeting. He declined to take questions.
Gregory sold his previous home to Christ The King Cathedral, which plans to expand it and house its priests there. The archbishop said this week that if the church sold the new mansion, he would seek to live in a setting more modest than his current or previous home.
A group of Catholics in Gregory's archdiocese had asked since January that he sell the nearly 6,400-square-foot mansion in keeping with the tone of austerity set by Pope Francis.
Laura Mullins, one of several Catholics who asked Gregory to sell, praised the archbishop for making a quick decision and ending the controversy. The mansion was made possible by a multimillion dollar gift to the archdiocese.
"He is the person we follow locally," she said. "He sets the mood. He sets the example for all of us to follow. If he is choosing to use a gift so personally, what does that tell the people sitting in the pews?"
Gregory thanked parishioners for raising the issue, and he acknowledged earlier this week the importance of Pope Francis' example.