Bishops choose pricey San Diego resort, despite pope's example

Posted: Jun 10, 2013 6:12 PM PDT <em class="wnDate">Monday, June 10, 2013 9:12 PM EST</em>Updated: Jun 10, 2013 6:12 PM PDT <em class="wnDate">Monday, June 10, 2013 9:12 PM EST</em> By Richard Allyn, Reporter - bio | email

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8 ) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting this week in Coronado. But some people are raising questions about holding the conference at one of San Diego's most expensive hotels, especially when the newly elected pope has stressed thrift and living simply.
Nearly 300 bishops are visiting San Diego for the weeklong conference, but a concerned citizen wonders why they have chosen to stay at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, where according to the resort's website, rooms cost between $200 and $600 a night.
Mary Creson, who left the Roman Catholic Church to join an orthodox Catholic church, which she says follows the humble teachings of Jesus, questions why the bishops are staying at Loews Coronado.
"The guys can have a good time, but there are many large churches in the country that can provide space for things like that. I don't see the need to stay at one of the most expensive resorts in Southern California," Creson said.
Creson feels the bishops should be following the leadership of Pope Francis, who recently cancelled bonuses for bishops, a pope who refuses to live in luxury and has even paid for his own hotel bill...
Bishop John Wester from Salt Lake City says it's difficult to find accommodations for a group that totals more than 500 people.
"We have to come together to do good things, and in our society coming together means you've got to pay a bill at the end of the day. So we try to keep the bill as low as possible," Wester said.
Bishop Wester says the church often books group rates at a lower price, and says they'd never pay $500 a night for a hotel stay.
"We are definitely not paying that kind of a price. I wouldn't go near a hotel for that price," he said.
Bishop Wester says they consider the money they spend to be a gift from god which they're responsible for using wisely, a sentiment Mary Creson has a hard time believing given the lavishness of Loews.
"Their salaries come from the church and from the parishes. It's just expensive, and they have their hands in the collection plate, so to speak," she said.
We were told a Sister Mary Ann would be calling us to tell us what kind of rates the bishops are paying at Loews. So far we have not received that call.