The Catholic Diocese of San Jose has purchased a five-bedroom, $2.3 million home in Silicon Valley for its retiring bishop despite the 640,000-member diocese's mission of charity and serving the poor. Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, 73, acknowledged in an interview with the Mercury News that he "could understand" how the purchase might not sit well with some parishioners. The nearly 3,300-square-foot home's listing boasts of a "grand-sized chef's kitchen," ''soaring ceilings," and a "spa-like marble bathroom" in a "Tuscan estate." It was purchased with funds set aside for paying the costs of a bishop's housing and upkeep after retirement, said a rep for the diocese. McGrath said the diocese also got the proceeds from selling a condominium where his predecessor, retired Bishop Pierre DuMaine, lived before moving into assisted living, reports the AP.
"The fund ... can be used for nothing else," McGrath said. "When I'm not around anymore, the house can be sold. It's a good investment in that sense. It probably makes more money this way than if it were in the bank." Still, the purchase appears at odds with McGrath's previously expressed concerns about housing inequality in Northern California. Many retired clergy choose to live in a retirement community in Mountain View sponsored by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Others live in church rectories, the homes of parish priests. McGrath said he wanted to "live in a house so I would have the freedom to help the diocese but not disturb the priests in the rectories" and that he "like[s] the valley." McGrath said he's not planning to have other clergy as regular housemates, though people to help him cook and clean might come and stay.
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