Pope Francis tells priests to buy 'humble' cars
(Updated 3:22 p.m.) Pope Francis said on Saturday it pained him to see priests driving flashy cars, and told them to pick something more “humble”.
As part of his drive to make the Catholic Church more austere and focus on the poor, Francis told young and trainee priests and nuns from around the world that having the latest smartphone or fashion accessory was not the route to happiness.
“It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can’t do this,” he said.
“A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world,” he said.
The papal sentiment may sting Philippine bishops, several of whom were exposed in 2011
as having received expensive SUVs from then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo via the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Some bishops then insisted there was nothing wrong or immoral
in the presidential gifts to the clergymen.
In Manila, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz told GMA News Online that he appreciated the "call (of Pope Francis, who) does not only talk but he lives what he say."
"Why should priests be in luxury when a lot of people have difficulty in daily living?" Cruz said in a phone interview.
However, Cruz said the bishops accused of having SUVs have, in fact, not received any luxurious cars.
"In fairness to the bishops concerned, when they turned over the cars to the Senate (for investigation), not a single one of them was a Pajero," he said.
But Cruz was quick to criticize one bishop, Butuan Bishop Juan De Dios Pueblos, who reportedly asked Mrs. Arroyo for an SUV as a birthday present. Pueblos admitted to receiving the vehicle
, but insisted that it was used to serve poor people in his area.
"The bishop did not really have a sense of prudence," Cruz said. Still, the archbishop maintained that clergymen should follow Pope Francis' examples.
"Priests are not allowed to live luxuriously, more especially in the Philippines na talagang hirap na hirap ang mga narito," Cruz said. Simple papal lifestyle
Since succeeding Pope Benedict in March, the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has eschewed some of the more ostentatious trappings of his office and has chosen to live in a Vatican guest house rather than the opulent papal apartments.
The ANSA news agency said the pope’s car of choice for moving around the walled Vatican City was a compact Ford Focus.
Bishop Cruz said he admired Pope Francis' simple lifestyle. "Maski ako tinatamaan sa kanyang mga pa-aral, which are edifying examples." — with Marc Jayson Cayabyab/Reuters/RSJ, GMA News