January 28, 2020
By Abbott Koloff
Archbishop John J. Myers, the former head of the Newark Archdiocese who was criticized for his handling of priest abuse scandals, has moved to Illinois to be near family for health reasons, and the church will sell his Hunterdon County retirement home — which stirred controversy six years ago when church funds were used to build an expansive wing and an indoor pool.
Myers, who led the archdiocese for almost 16 years, held on to the house amid criticism that included a 2014 petition containing 17,000 signatures urging him to sell it. At the time, Pope Francis urged clergy to live simply, removing a German bishop because of his lavish lifestyle, and a Catholic leader in Atlanta agreed to sell a mansion built as his residence.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, who took over as leader of the archdiocese three years ago, issued a statement saying the 78-year-old Myers “has suffered a serious decline” in his “physical and mental health” and after visiting family in Illinois “decided to remain in the region of his birth where he is receiving specialized care and can be visited by his family as well as the clergy of the Diocese of Peoria.” The statement was posted on the archdiocesan website Tuesday.
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