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Newark Archbishop Under Fire Over Plans For Pricey Addition To Retirement Home

NEWARK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) -- A local archbishop has come under attack for apparently living like a king.

Critics are unhappy that his second home is getting an extreme makeover, CBS 2's Steve Langford reported.

Newark Archbishop John J. Myers greeted congregants on Sunday, as a few demonstrators stood on the sidewalk outside of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

"We are asking the archbishop to reconsider moving into his multi-million dollar mansion," Ken Davitt said.

The "mansion", as protestors call it, is Archbishop Myers' weekend home in Hunterdon County where an extension that has been reported to cost at least a half-a-million dollars has gotten underway on the remote property next to a swimming pool.

The addition to the home will reportedly include a library, an extra bedroom, a whirlpool tub, an exercise pool, three fireplaces, and an elevator.

A petition that protestors claim bears 22,000 names has urged the archbishop to sell the home that he plans to retire to in two years.

A spokesman for the archdiocese took the petition but denied that any parishioner funds would be used for the home.

"The money that is being used in the house is money coming from other real estate, private real estate," Archdiocese of Newark spokesman Jim Goodness said.

Neither protestors nor reporters were allowed to question the archbishop himself on Sunday, prompting frustration from protestors.

"We give the money to them so at least he has to have the courtesy to talk to us right?" Raul Caceres said.

Congregants appeared divided over the archbishop's second home.

"I'm with the protestors on that, that's unacceptable," Frank Gerard Godlewski said.

"I don't think that's the right thing to do in front of the church," David Nzakan said.

There are currently no plans in place to re-think the expansion of the Archbishop's retirement home, the archdiocese said.

The protestors, who are part of a group that calls itself 'Faithful America' said that no funds should be used for the home regardless of which church account the money came from.

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