Loving Portland Press Herald’s Bill Nemitz today…


The more the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland shutters its churches and puts them on the real estate market, the larger the question looms: Should Maine’s bishop still be living in a million-dollar mansion?

It’s on Portland’s tony Western Promenade. According to city tax records, the 6,970-square-foot, three-story “mansion” has six bedrooms, 4 baths, an 840-square-foot garage and an assessed value of $1,126,000.

In short, pretty nice digs by anyone’s standards. Too nice, according to at least one perennial thorn in the side of Bishop Richard Malone.

“It’s not about Richard Malone,” said Paul Kendrick, a Roman Catholic who for years has publicly decried the church’s handling of the sexual abuse of children by priests. “It’s about ‘What kind of church is this?'”

Kendrick fired off a mass-distribution e-mail this week after hearing that five churches – Notre Dame de Lourdes Church in Saco, St. Mary of the Assumption and St. Andre churches in Biddeford, and St. Joseph and St. Patrick churches in Lewiston – will close this year and next because of shrinking congregations, growing costs to maintain the buildings and the need to protect religious programs and services from ever-increasing parish deficits.

Nemitz continues:


Malone’s charge to the parishes, (Diocese spokeperson Sue) Bernard noted, has been to determine “What do you need? Take a look at what you need and see if there’s an excess there.”

But might the same challenge be put to the bishop? Considering that he lives alone, does he truly need six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a three-car garage?

Bernard noted that the mansion, which has served as the bishop’s residence since Bishop Joseph McCarthy purchased it for the diocese back in 1939, is used to entertain visitors to the diocese and for other social functions.

“He lives there by himself,” she said, “but he isn’t the only one who uses it.”

What’s more, Bernard said, while it’s in a “lovely neighborhood,” the interior could use some work. “There’s wallpaper coming off in some places, peeling paint.”

Oh. Bummer. Yeah, my mansion’s got some interior issues, too… (eyeroll)

Still seems that a pretty penny could be made from selling this mansion…

One smart reader posted the city’s tax information and property description in comments:


FYI — The Church owns two, adjacent property lots on the Western Promenade.

Here’s the description of the second lot. It is comprised of 7797 sq.ft. of land area and includes the bishop’s 3 car garage.

Property Taxes:

Mansion and surrounding property – $16,409.50

Garage and surrounding property – $ 3,210.94

Total Tax – $19,620.44

Card Number 1 of 1

Parcel ID 069 B011001

Location 193 WESTERN PROMENADE

Land Use GARAGES, SHEDS, AUX, ETC.

Owner Address ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PORTLAND

PO BOX 11559

PORTLAND ME 04104

Book/Page

Legal 69-B-11

WESTERN PROMENADE 193-195

7797SF

LAND VALUE $150,300.00

BUILDING VALUE $30,700.00

NET TAXABLE – REAL ESTATE $181,000.00

TAX AMOUNT $3,210.94

Head below the fold for comments…Apparently folks are not pleased with the Bishop:


Could be time for the bishop to move to one of the leafy suburbs.

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The Catholic church opened itself up for criticism the minute it got involved in a political campaign to take rights away from other people. What they choose to do with their money then becomes a newsworthy issue, as does every other way in which they behave hypocritically while telling others how they should behave.

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The Catholic Church has sins beyond condoning and sheltering predatory sex offenders. Recent history abounds with horrendous behavior, from physical and mental abuse of school children by the brothers and nuns, to virtual slavery in orphanages. That the Church still considers women unequal to men and undeserving of full service in the liturgy is astounding in the 21st century.

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The Catholic Church used to spend their money on the poor. Now they spend it on paying off victims of pedophile priests and political campaigning. Boy am I glad I’m not a Catholic.

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I think that the Bishop and the Catholic church have placed themselves in the public eye and for that reason are open to criticism. In light of our economic uncertainty and the money being spent by the church on a public political issue, I think it is absolutely a newsworthy issue to question the church leader’s spending priorities, particularly considering his drive to make others live according to his belief system by seeking to deprive others of civil rights. Why shouldn’t he be questioned about whether he practices what he preaches in terms of adhering to Christian theology. The money/greed/rich v. poor themes are probably the most mentioned in the Bible, certainly at least from Jesus.

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“One cannot blame the church for the conduct of the priest, that’s is like blaming society for the evil of men outside the church.”

Surely you can when the church has a history of the looking the other way and reasigning these foul preists without warning to the new parish when this behavior has surfaced in the past. Shameful- even unthinkable for those casting endless guilt on the masses.

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Jesus would have no possessions to begin with, other than a rudimentary wardrobe. Certainly no gold-threaded vestments. Or large estates.

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“What would Jesus do?”

I believe that he would sell all of his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, no?

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Churches support the poor, ill of mind, downtrodden homeless, addicts trying to get clean.

Churches take what society throws away and gives them hope a reason.

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I volunteer at Church run soup kitchens, food cupboards. People who cannot pay electric bills, rent, Clothing for families and children,

transportation for the handicapable. Food taken to the elderly. Help with medication needs. Shelter for families whom have lost everything. The tax exempt status is needed in order for the church to help the needy and poor.

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Simple to attack such and institution , easily mocked by those whom live on the outside, their deeds for their own good as they fill their gullets while others starve.

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How about the increased property taxes we ALL pay because valuable church property is exempt from taxation?

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What do you think the taxes would be on the Bishop’s mansion? The various churches around the state…of ALL religions? The camps and sundry property owned by religious institutions.

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I guess ultimately it is up to church-goers whether they wish to continue to support the church and it’s ways…economically and theologically.

Louise1

Louise1

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