It's the last summer at the Jersey shore for Philadelphia's priests. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will auction off a beachfront villa on the New Jersey shore to help close a budget deficit that officials say currently stands at $6 million, reports ABC.
The stately home, dubbed Villa St. Joseph, takes up an entire block and is valued at about $6.3 million.
The residence in Ventnor, near Atlantic City, has been a retreat for priests for 50 years but the diocese is struggling to afford the annual taxes of $115,000, reports AP.
The villa will be auctioned on September 15th. The new owners of the 10,000-square-foot home will enjoy eleven bedrooms, each with their own attached bathroom.
Proceeds from the sale of the Villa will plug the growing budget gap. ABC reports that Philadelphia priests bought the villa for $1,000 in the early 1960's from a family that left several properties to the archdiocese.
"We just can't afford to maintain and hold assets like Villa Saint Joseph by the Sea and my residence," Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement to AP.
Chaput's private residence is also being auctioned along with several other buildings owned by the Church.
"Selling these assets will help us as we work to ensure the long-term financial stability and position the archdiocese for future growth. It will also allow us to remain committed to the services and support we provide to the faithful as well as the broader community."
Sexual abuse trials by clergy have cost the diocese more than $10 million in the past two fiscal years.
Nationwide, the Catholic Church has spent $2.5 billion in settlements and therapy bills for victims, attorneys fees, and costs to care for priests pulled out of ministry from 2004 to 2011, according to the latest annual report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), which tracks U.S. Catholic statistics.