Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory apologizes for building $2.2 million mansion; Locals urge him to sell and live like Pope Francis

The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, S.L.D. Metropolitan Archbishop of Atlanta

Atlanta's Roman Catholic Archbishop, Wilton Gregory apologized on Monday after coming under the criticism of local Catholics for the $2.2 million dollar home he built for himself in one of the city's most prestigious neighborhoods.

The Atlanta Archbishop's new residence is about 6,400-square-foot (595-square-meter) and the funds to help construct the home came directly from the nephew of Margaret Mitchell, who is author of the 1936 Civil War novel, "Gone With The Wind," a body of work that brought her family fortune.

Margaret Mitchell's nephew, Joseph Mitchell passed in 2011, but he chose to donate an estate worth over $15 million to the archdiocese, as long as it was made certain that the estate would be used for "general religious and charitable purposes," Atlanta's NBC affiliate reported. 

The archbishop's large home was made possible by Joseph Mitchell's estate.

Gregory shared that he received letters, phone calls and emails, criticizing the purchase of his new home. "I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the Archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services," he admitted.

While Gregory's home was given to him by the will and testament of Joseph Mitchell, the archbishop made it clear that he was remorseful about the purchase. 

"I am disappointed that, while my advisors (sic) and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia," Gregory wrote in a column for The Georgia Bulletin.

According to Atlanta's NBC affilliate, a group of local Catholics met with the archbishop back in January and requested that he sell the large home and return to his old one. It is said that they referenced the example of Pope Francis, who drives an average car and who turned down the opportunity to live in the Vatican.