British bishop to sell his house and give proceeds to the poor
Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster announced on Sunday that he plans to sell his $A2.64 million official home and spend much of the proceeds on the poor and interfaith initiatives.
Bishop O'Donoghue described Bishop's House in Lancaster as a beautiful 16-room Victorian mansion. "But these are symbols of another era," he said. "We need a revolution in the church. It's a dangerous word to use. But we need to look at our structures, otherwise we are going to end up as caretakers of mausoleums and museums rather than as caretakers of the poor."
A substantial amount of the money raised from the sale will be spent on projects aimed at easing deprivation and drug problems. Bishop O'Donoghue, 68, will use a small suite of rooms in his cathedral but spend most of his time staying with his priests in presbyteries around the diocese.
Bishop O'Donoghue moved to Lancaster after spending 40 years, successively as student, priest and bishop, in the diocese of Westminster. A close associate of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, he is described as being a believer in "service not status" and has frequently spoken up on behalf of asylum seekers.
"The Church has always been an evangelical Church," said Bishop O'Donoghue in his letter. "My job is not that of managing director of The Church plc, but servant of the word of God and shepherd of the flock."
Whit Sunday Letter of the Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster
The Guardian (London)
21 May 2002