Let’s convert mansion to housing for homeless
I am in agreement with Donn Esmonde’s column titled, “No place for mansion in diocese.” More than 30 years ago, as a local Catholic, I also protested this very thing through a letter to the editor.
But as I read Esmonde’s commentary, I thought of another possibility. The bishop could either stay at the residence or go to a smaller apartment near the cathedral. The house would then be run by the diocese as temporary housing for the homeless. (Somewhat like the existing Ecumenical Family Promise). Besides a bed for a week or so, Catholic Charities and social services could assist the residents in finding more permanent housing, employment, etc. Yes, this is already done, but never enough – see the recent News story, “More people seeking homeless aid, county says.” The bishop would have the opportunity (if he lived there) to visit with the residents and get to know what their lives are like living on the streets or from shelter to shelter. He would be doing the work of Christ in the margins.
The neighbors, who are wealthy people, might object to this. They would have some choices – they could sell and thereby give the diocese an opportunity to buy more houses for the poor, or they could assimilate and make the bishop’s new housemates welcome. Maybe they would even employ them or help them find jobs in the city where they own businesses.