Contrary to his earlier statements that ‘I am a pastor not a prince’ when declining to live in the bishop’s mansion on First Hill, Seattle, Heal Our Church has learned that the chancery has purchased a luxury home for Archbishop Etienne on Cascadia Ave. S., in the Mt. Baker district of Seattle. He had made an earlier announcement at a priests’ meeting that he was moving from his current residence to another home so that he ‘could suitably meet with priests’. But there are multiple archdiocese owned properties available for any meetings. The Archbishop’s current residence at the rectory for St. Peter’s Church on Beacon Hill, Seattle, had been remodeled for his benefit shortly after his appointment as Archbishop.
His new home is over 3400 sq. ft. with a view of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains and within the boundary of St. Mary’s parish which has recently been closed and merged with St. Therese Parish. We note his earlier statements to the Northwest Catholic Magazine on his first day as Archbishop when discussing not moving into the First Hill mansion provided to previous bishops:
“The house doesn’t represent who I am. I think the days of bishops living in a manner that’s a lot nicer than the majority of their people live, those days are gone, and they should be. I am a pastor, not a prince and I want to live in a manner that’s more reflective of how my people live”.
Heal Our Church finds this very troubling. We call upon the Archbishop to cancel his moving to the house, sell the property and use the money to support parishes and social services just as he promised when appointed and said to the Northwest Catholic regarding his decision to not live in a mansion:
“ Bishops face a challenge of reclaiming our credibility. It’s (the mansion) clearly a piece of real estate that, if we divest of it, can help us advance the ministries of the Church. …….We’re in a different age today, and I want people to know that I’m willing to examine everything – including the home that I live in that the people of God provide me – in order to renew this Church.”
In claiming to live by the ‘model and message’ of Pope Francis, we cannot help but wonder what the Pope would make of this.
To read more:
St Peter's Rectory on top left
Other Photos are Archbishop Etienne's new Lake Washington view home in the Mount Baker area.