The church will sell the opulent mansion on its Brighton grounds as well as more than 27 acres of surrounding land, according to the Rev. Christopher Coyne, a church spokesman. The sale does not include the chancery, which houses archdiocesan offices, or St. John's Seminary. The stately three-story mansion built in the 1920s has been used as a residence by the last four archbishops, but new Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley announced shortly after his installation in July that he would not live in the building. O'Malley moved to a South End apartment behind the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The mansion and land was recently assessed at nearly $14 million, but real estate experts say the land could fetch up to $20 million. The sale of the residence helps fulfill O'Malley's promise that no collection plate money will be used to pay for the record settlement. Instead, O'Malley presented a plan to the archdiocesan Finance Council on Wednesday in which the church would take out short-term loans to fund the settlement and then pay back the lenders with proceeds from the sale of the Brighton property and insurance money.
"The seminary area is essential to the future of the archdiocese, but the residential building is not necessary to the functioning of the church," he said. Still, "It's a sad thing, it's an embarrassing thing, to sell it off to pay this settlement."