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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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An American archbishop has been heavily criticised for a decision to build a 3,000-square-foot addition to his retirement home, complete with private lift, hot tub, indoor pool and multiple fireplaces. The house, purchased in 2002, already has 4,500 square feet of living space.
The Archbishop of Newark, John Myers, currently uses the house at weekends as a get-away. He is 73 years old and was assigned a coadjutor archbishop last year, so Myers is expected to retire within two years. Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda moved into student accommodation at Seton Hall University when he arrived in Newark last autumn.
In a written statement, the archdiocese pushed back against the adverse press coverage. “The planned construction is being paid for by donations from individuals specifically given for this purpose, and through the sale of other residential properties that the archdiocese owns but does not need,” the statement read. “The sale of these properties is expected to not only pay for the construction, but also return funds to the Archdiocese for other ministry uses. No parishioner funds or Archbishop’s Annual Appeal contributions are being used on this project.”
In recent years, the archdiocese has had to close several schools and parishes due to financial and other pressures.