New Jersey beachfront villa for Philadelphia priests being auctioned

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is auctioning off a $6 million New Jersey beachfront villa to help close a $17 million deficit amid a criminal trial and related lawsuits regarding clergy abuse cases.

The archdiocese announced an auction on Monday for the 11-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot property in Ventnor, N.J. Constructed in 1905, Villa St. Joseph has served as a summer vacation home for retired priests near Atlantic City since 1963. Taxes for the property, however, are nearly $115,000 per year. Further details for the Sept. 15 auction will be announced Tuesday.

“To address the cash flow challenges caused by deficits, the Church is faced with hard decisions,” Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement. “It’s similar to what families have to do when their expenses are greater than income. We just can’t afford to maintain and hold assets like Villa Saint Joseph by the Sea and my residence. Holding on to these properties at this time would be inconsistent with the mission of our Church.”

Chaput, who has already slashed 45 jobs, is also selling his private residence, an office building and other assets to trim the archdiocese’s deficit.

“The decision to sell these properties was not made lightly, but rather after prayer and careful consideration,” Chaput’s statement continued. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.