The Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta has apologised for building a $2.2m (€1.6m) mansion to use as his home, a move that made him the object of derision and complaint, and said he may sell it.   

Archbishop Wilton Gregory said he took his "eye off the ball" after the archdiocese received a $15m donation from the estate of Joseph Mitchell, a nephew of "Gone With The Wind" author, Margaret Mitchell.   

Pope Francis has been urging Roman Catholic officials to live simpler lives and has renounced the papal apartments in the Vatican palace for modest quarters in a Church guest house.    

The Vatican removed a German bishop - dubbed the "Bishop of bling" - last month from his job because he spent €31m on a residence where fittings included a bath that cost €15,000 and €2.9m private chapel.

In Monday's edition of The Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper for the Atlanta archdiocese, Archbishop Gregory wrote: "While my advisors and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia."

"I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the Archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services," he added.

He also said in the newspaper column that the Archdiocese would discuss the situation with several diocesan councils, including a special meeting of its finance council.

If church representatives want the bishop to sell the home, Archbishop Gregory said he will do so and move elsewhere.