“Dear Holy Father… about my car….” Wherein Fr. Z offers advice to priests about vehicles.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Pope Francis’ war on new cars for priests and religious.  HERE.

I saw this in an article in the Vatican’s underground satirical newspaper LA CIPOLLA:

[...]

Priests far and wide are now under attack because of make and model and year of their cars.  [Well... some are.]

If it is a blue car, parishioners exclaim, “Why not grey car, Father?” If it is a 2003, “Shouldn’t you have a 2002?” If it is an import, they snort, “Why not an Italian car?” If it is domestic, “Wouldn’t a Honda have been cheaper?”, they shout and wave a fist.

Complaints are overwhelming the in-boxes of diocesan bishops! The Holy See’s Congregation of Clergy will soon have to add personnel just to handle the complaints! It’s getting out of hand!

[...]

Concerning.  Portentous.  This is a sign of things to come, mark my words!

Therefore, as a service to my brother priests, many of whom are filled with anxiety about their wheels, I offer this helpful resource.

Here is a sample letter which all priests world-wide should fill out and send to Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

Some of my parishioners/my staff/my nasty anonymous letter writers have invoked Your Holiness’ name in criticizing me and the vehicle which I presently drive.

I have taken your criticism to heart, but cannot determine whether or not my vehicle is appropriate for my state in life and situation.

I humbly petition Your Holiness’ assistance in judging this vital pastoral matter.

For Your Holiness’ opportune knowledge and judgment,  I submit hereunder details about my vehicle:

- I am a diocesan priest
- My vehicle is a [color], [year], [make], [model]
- The vehicle has [number] miles/km
- The vehicle gets [number] miles/km per gallon
- I purchased it in [year], for [amount]/I was given the vehicle by [whom]/etc.
- The average income of my parishioners/those in the area I reside is [amount]
- In my country, 89% of households own one or more vehicles. Approximately [number]% of my parishioners own vehicles.
- The condition of my vehicle would be classified as: [condition]
- I drive [miles] per week in order to carry out my ministry
- [enter any other pertinent information here – i.e. the need for a four-wheel-drive vehicle due to a region possessed of heavy snow/rough terrain/etc.]

Your Holiness, may I beg the honor of a rescript regarding my choice of vehicle?

I am grateful for your time in considering my case and, in advance, for the pastoral advice you may deign to offer in this pastoral situation.

In filial affection and promising prayers for Your Holiness, I am sincerely in Christ

[NAME]

Okay… at this point I must inform priests out there, reading this with great attention, that I AM KIDDING.  I can picture Fr. Scruplespoon at Our Lady Queen of Kneelers dutifully filling this out and sending it in.

This model letter is actually intended only for bishops.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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45 Responses to “Dear Holy Father… about my car….” Wherein Fr. Z offers advice to priests about vehicles.

  1. robtbrown says:

    Maybe the Vatican will build a database of all the RC priests that will list the cars–year, make, model, options, and Kelley Blue Book value. And I know sometimes priests drive a nice car because it was a gift from a parishioner who has bought a new one, then given the old one to a priest.

    BTW, neither Rahner nor Schillebeeckx drove luxury cars. [That settles it.]

  2. Nathan says:

    But Father, But Father…..isn’t there a liturgical use for the pontifical (Lamborghini) Gallardo?

    In Christ,

    [I sure hope there is. Off the top of my head, so to speak, in the Usus Antiquior it is necessary for Father to wear his biretta when going to the altar. Perhaps it should be obligatory for Father to ride in a Gallardo when going to the church for Mass?]

  3. Bob B. says:

    If the letter is for bishops, you forgot to include anything about his driver – I’ve never seen a bishop drive before, do they?

    [As I have written here before, I think bishops should have drivers. What would Francis think of that? Oh yes... he has a driver now, doesn't he. Never mind.]

  4. Fr AJ says:

    I must say, “Pope Francis, Parking Lot Attendant” has become the talk of the priests I know right now.

    Did Pope Francis ride to Castel Gandolfo in his Ford Focus or did he fly out in a helicopter and was the helicopter used or new? :)

    P.S. when will the FOR SALE sign be posted on Castel Gandolfo I wonder? Clearly Francis has no use for it.

  5. Clinton says:

    “… Fr, Scruplespoon at Our Lady Queen of Kneelers…”

    I’ve never paid much attention to what Father or His Excellency might be driving– but that last
    line was pure comic gold.

  6. eben says:

    Not to worry Father: I’m on ebay motors to find you an appropriate vehicle!
    A 1967 Fiat 600!

  7. eben: I’m on ebay motors…

    While you are there, would you get me one of these?

    HERE

    No, really. I’d like to have a scruple spoon and this is a good one!

  8. Pope Francis’ Pope’s curiosity about the automobiles that the Curiaistas are driving these days was quite the topic of conversation among some parishioners yesterday. Judging from their “take” on the Holy Father’s heart that’s “hurt” when he sees priests and religious driving “new” cars, if a priest drives anything better than a Ford Focus that’s a “negative” witness to “gospel values.” Even my (new) leased Honda Accord failed the laity’s test of “witness” to “gospel values.”

    However, when I laid out the costs associated with the Holy Father’s new Volkswagen Phaeton limo—selling at quite a loss (or mothballing) a perfectly good Mercedez Benz limo to “witness” to “gospel values”—enthusiasm for the Holy Father’s message among the parishioners weakened, although they thought the symbolism important.

    When I then laid out the costs associated with having two residences—living in St. Marta’s while also having to maintain a residence in the Apostolic Palace—enthusiasm for the Holy Father’s message waned, although once again, they thought the symbolism important.

    If I had laid out the costs associated with a helicopter ride to Castel Gandolfo, the parishioners might have “walked away wagging their heads” wondering “Why didn’t he just drive there?” With the Phaeton getting approximately 65 miles/gallon, the Holy Father could have made it to and from Castel Gandolfo on approximately three gallons of gasoline ($13 USD).

    My observation is that many of the Catholic faithful love the Holy Father, not just because of his humility (as reported in yesterday’s article in Vanity Fair), but also due in part to his assault upon crass materialism, especially where he sees this evidencing itself in the hierarchy. The parishioners think this “spot on” and are attracted to it like moths to light bulbs.

    What most people conveniently overlook is that ideological purity also has its costs. Consider those environmentally sensitive light bulbs, “sustainable” energy initiatives, and the like.

    What will happen if and when the actual costs associated with the Holy Father’s “preferential option for the poor” are added up by some enterprising reporter? Might all of this backfire on the Holy Father, weakening his moral standing rather than strengthening it?

  9. Clinton says:

    MSM, re: your PP and his new cars…

    When I was in high school, one of my classmates always drove a brand-new Ford. She got a new
    car almost monthly. I’d have been amazed at the jaw-dropping conspicuous consumption
    had I not known that her Dad owned the local Ford dealership. She got to drive those cars
    only until the odometer approached a certain mileage– then back to the dealership it went, to
    be switched for another. Her family was actually saving money by having her do this.

    My point is, you might be bothered for no reason. Perhaps your parish priest has a family
    member with an auto dealership. Perhaps he has independent means and this is his one
    indulgence in an otherwise ascetic lifestyle. Perhaps someone in the parish has access to a
    fleet of vehicles and is loaning autos to your PP. In short, if you are truly scandalized by his
    new cars, ask the man about it– if he decides it’s not giving in to inappropriate prying, he just
    might provide you with a perfectly reasonable explanation.

  10. The Motley Monk says: the costs associated with a helicopter ride to Castel Gandolfo

    And let’s not bring in how much Pope Francis refusal to stay at Castel Gandolfo during the summer will harm the economy of the town, which depends on the influx of pilgrims for for Sunday Angelus addresses, and other events.

  11. This reminds me of the liberal critique of conservatism: “symbolism over substance.”

  12. Sofia Guerra says:

    Ok, so one of my favorite priests back in NJ comes from a wealthy family. Very wealthy. His family left him lots of bucks.
    What did he do with it? Well he bought a very good car, one could say it was a luxury car. It is one great on gas and comfortable. It also is one of the best cars for NOT breaking down. Ok, that’s over with.
    The rest of the money? Well, he replaced out of HIS pocket the roof of the parish school. All appointments for the Church HE PAID out of his pocket.
    Sadly he made the mistake of loving the Usus Antiquor during a time when this diocese had a Progressive bishop who made it clear that those who preferred the ancient form of the Mass were heretics…that bishop told me so himself when we met for the third time in three weeks at an event (Divine Providence) He is retired now and I have never named the bishop as detraction is a sin. I knew he was near retirement…
    So this priest, a priest who is not only holy(yes it is possible to be humble and holy even if you are not serving the barrio) but is generous (parish did know he paid for everything and they ran him out over not having female servers). He was accused of stealing money and of course was cleared immediately when he was forced to admit he paid for everything out of his own pocket.
    He has been exiled (supposedly an exile) to serve veterans of our wars as a chaplain, where he is revered for the priest he is.
    He offers the EF in all its glory daily for the vets and the drs and nurses insist it is helping many vets to heal much faster.
    He assists the vets with whatever their needs. He drives all over to get paperwork for them, to get their families for visits, etc. He loves his assignment.He loves his vets. He is a holy priest.
    But I guess according to our Holy Father because he does it in what some would consider a luxury car, everything else doesn’t count.
    Personally, the obsession with the poor and their temporal needs is shortsighted. Their spiritual needs (and those who are not poor) are much more important. Even Our Lord rebuked the apostles when they chastised the use of the expensive perfumed oil used to anoint His feet. I believe He said ” For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.” Mark 14:7.
    Look, caring for the poor is something the Church already knows how to do and She does it well, and willingly. Disparaging priests over cars at a time when the homosexual agenda is determined to continue to undermine the Church (Benedict’s remarks about the filth needed to be cleaned out of the Church)seems like putting the cart before the horse.
    What has come out of all of this is a continuing bashing of Benedict (especially by OF devotees on the Catholic Blogosphere) , the EF, those who dare to call themselves Traditionalists and who dare to want a holy and reverent Mass and anyone who doesnt agree the poor come first.
    Well my priest friend gets it. He has not only paid for all the temporal needs of his former parish out of his money, but continues to help families from that parish. It is a parish who has many rich members and also middle class families who are struggling.It serves an area that has both types.

    So far, all this adoration of Francis because of his humility and simple lifestyle is really getting on my nerves. Benedict loves the EF but believe me he is a man of humility and a simple lifestyle within the grandeur of the Vatican. My aunt, (she passed away before he became Pope)a nun who lived in rome for years knew him from when he first came to Rome would tell me stories about him that only the insiders know. Benedict is holy and simple. He saves all the good stuff for the Mass because he gets it that the King of the Universe and the Heavens deserves only the best.
    Yeah, thats a reason to nail him to the Cross.
    Francis on the other hand must be careful. Having a Jesuit background sometimes can be a struggle with humility. It shouldnt as their founder understood true humility. Unfortunately Jesuits are not always imitating their founder, Loyola.

    My father who passed away in March 2013 told me a joke once:
    “Two things God doesnt know: How many Franciscans there are in the world and what’s on a Jesuit’s mind”.
    Yup Dad, you nailed it.
    I will pray for Francis that his humility stays just that and doesnt become a false humility. After all, he is a mortal. Perhaps he should have been a Franciscan.

  13. acardnal says:

    Is that an Eastern Rite communion spoon, Fr. Z? [The bowl is too small, I think.]

  14. acardnal says:

    Never mind. I just clicked on your link above: Used for adding water to the priest’s chalice.

  15. acardnal says:

    The only priest I have ever seen use a scruple spoon was an American Opus Dei priest.

  16. Moro says:

    @acardnal – same here. I’ve seen many Opus Dei priest use such a spoon, but to my recollection it’s been ONLY Opus Dei priests. Not sure what’s behind that.

  17. OrthodoxChick says:

    I learn something new here every day. I had never heard of a scruple spoon before. Come to find out that a scruple is an ancient Roman unit of weight measurement that is equal to roughly 1/24th of an ounce. Pretty cool.

  18. dominicop says:

    I’m glad to see that we’re all able to handle this with some humor, and I do think that visiting the parking lot was a bit over the top, but I’m not at all convinced that the Holy Father is just wasting his time. Now I know, I’m a mendicant and that immediately diminishes my credibility concerning simplicity of life because we’re idealists and all, but I can genuinely say that the first real instance of scandal I can remember was years before I entered the Order and it was over, wait for it….a priest’s car. I am from Des Moines. I went to Dowling Catholic in the late 90s, and while I was there the Father-President received as gifts both a brand new luxury car and living accomodations near a local country club. The claim was that the priests’ residence which adjoined the school was too simple to host the kind of benefactor gatherings which he would need to hold, and as I grew older and entered seminary the line I was given was, “If you’re going to be sufficiently accepted by the rich to get money out of them they have to be able to take you seriously,” apropos of the car. There were some children from very wealthy families at Dowling at the time, even as there are now, but there were even more kids like me; working class parents, staying after school to work of tuition plus a part time job, etc. It was genuinely scandalous for Father to pull up in a car which cost as much as some of his employee’s houses while even the teachers were driving second-hand Oldsmobiles. And you know what? Very, very, very few kids that I went to that Catholic high school with go to Church anymore. Now was it simply Father’s fault, or the fault of his car? Of course not; it was the time, the horrific theology department, the ill-informed staff, the passive chaplain, and all the rest, but I have clear memories of people saying, “It’s hard to take him seriously when he talks about the poor and he drives something like that or lives in a place like that.” Now some people reading this will undoubtedly know the priest, and he’s a good man, but this was a horrific misstep and I do think priests need to consider the implications of their purchases. Of course, one good way to avoid this is to simply have established diocesan policy that priests must live in rectories or houses designated for the purpose (this cuts down on a number of problems), and a car provided for their use.

  19. Ceile De says:

    I understand that Hans Kuing used to drive an Alfa Romeo convertibel around Rome in the 1960′s and presumably it was new then. If he’s still driving the same car, it would now be as old as I am and I am sure that would not now be a problem. However, presumably it was new or newer when he first drove it back. Could he perhaps enlighten us as to what the Spirit of Vatican II has to say for priests today wanting to drive new or newer Alfa Romeo convertibles?

  20. My dear good Fathers at my parish provide me with the Eucharist, absolve my wretched sins, bless me when I need blessing, and so on and so on and so on. I could care less what they drive, but I do think that nice car has got to be one easy way to make life a bit easier on the good Fathers!

  21. Suz. from Oklah. says:

    My priests’ cars seem fairly modest. I really don’t know what they are. But, I’ll tell you something. I want at least one of my priests to be able to drive the 35 miles to my house if and when I need the sacrament of extreme unction. If the car breaks down before the priest gets here because he traded it in for an older model per the Holy Father’s suggestion, I think my family and I will be irked a little.

  22. frjim4321 says:

    I will find it interesting if any local bishops take up this campaign. [Especially since it is... you know... a joke?]

    Meanwhile, again I say that if the pope or bishop is concerned about the type of vehicle that a priest drives, they need to provide those vehicles for them. [Good point.]

    Not having taken the vow of poverty I’m really not interested in hearing any advice from the pope or bishop about what kind of car I should be driving. If I wanted to live that kind of life, I would have joined a religious order. [Better point!]

    Frankly leadership should be taking a more active role in addressing the issue of many priests ordained in the past 15 years or so who come into the priesthood with a lot of debt and now have no way to pay it off. [Is that a big problem in diocesan priesthood? And is some of that debt their bill for seminary?]

  23. Elizabeth M says:

    Why should they have cars at all? Why not take the ol’ reliable public transit just like Pope Francis used to? Maybe they should hitch rides with their parishioners.
    “Father, come quickly, our father is in the hospital!” “Well, come and get me!”
    Next they will attack our priest’s housing. Maybe I could put an extra shed on my property and have him live there.
    The idea of priest must be poorer than poor is not a new thing. The Church has always been attacked this way. How clever the devil is at chipping away at the identity of our priests so that we don’t think of them as specially called by Our Lord.

  24. iPadre says:

    Do you think my black Ferrari f40. I could trade it in for a nice Harley Davidson, with a side car for my dog. [Motorcycles = donor mobiles.]

    Before anyone gets excited, I don’t have a Ferrari, nor do I want a bike. I drive a Model T. That should be old enough. [Why not a Model S?!?]

  25. nemo says:

    Our (TLM) priests serve an area north-to-south about 250 miles. They often put 500 miles on their cars on a weekend. Their cars need to function 24/7 for sacramental emergencies, etc. The cars also have to be comfortable enough for them to drive the 5-6 hours a day to get from one Mass location to another. Should they be required to take buses instead?

  26. Emilio says:

    I think that the Holy Spirit has given our Church, and our world, just the right Pope that we needed for the job, in our times. Who better than this Pope to ruffle the feathers of those who would take offense to him going after those prelates and priests, those religious, who over-indulge in worldly pleasures and luxuries? Whether in Buenos Aires or in Rome, he walks the walk and doesn’t just talk the talk.

    The Holy Father never used the words “new car” during the Audience to Seminarians and Novices. This was a misinterpretation and mistranslation of the Pope’s words, and the media ran with it in some cases to make headlines.
    The contentious phrase in question is at approximately 1:33:45 in the youtube video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd4J2MvyJ9c&feature=c4-overview&list=UU7E-LYc1wivk33iyt5bR5zQ

    The Holy Father said that it hurt him to see priests in latest-model cars ["...con la macchina ultimo modello" 1:33:45]. That is quite different than saying “new car,” as he never used the words “new car.” Idiomatically in Spanish and in Italian, “ultimo modello” can be interpreted as also pertaining to what is considered to be a fad or fashionable. To interpret the phrase employed as “new car” (in any way) is a real stretch, and not one based upon the words the Pope actually used. If some of you are going to poke fun at the Pope, great… but at least get his words right, and stick around long enough to enjoy the humor that followed this particular phrase. He himself also added that he knew cars were necessary for ministry, even joking that while he knew that cars were necessary for many priests, his own Secretary, Msgr. Alfred (Xuereb) got around by bicycle… this was followed my some loud chuckling by the Pope, Msgr. Alfred, and the thousands present.

    It is perfectly reasonable and logical that a priest would need a safe, strong, reliable vehicle, whether new or not, in this day and age.. and my guess is that Pope Francis would be happy to agree with that. I have also seen cuff links on Pope Francis during one televised Mass at St. Peter’s, and during one Private Audience. It would seem inconsistent for someone to wage war on cuff links and then himself use them, at least twice, over the past three months.

  27. fwbear says:

    Fr. Z you made my day…Fr. Scruplespoon…really?….I’m still laughing!

    [Great! But on a serious note, I really would like to get one. They are often pretty handy, depending on the shape of the cruets. Furthermore, Fr. Scruplespoon is on the other side of town from Fr. Lovebeads at Our Lady Queen of Hugs. I am considering a serial.]

  28. oakdiocesegirl says:

    Scruplespoon? Looks like a coke spoon for South American bishops to me. Glad I kept reading to discover it is really used for…water…yeah, right.
    Don’t get pulled over with one of those in your pocket.

    [I suspect that the nickname of the spoon comes from the very small measure it ladles out.]

  29. Gemma says:

    This topic has caused so much anger and confusion among Catholics I know. Before, Pope Francis became a pope I had a separate discussions with a primitive friar and a Friars of the Immaculate. Both are Franciscans. They explained their level of poverty and their specific call to penance as Franciscans. Correct me, if I am wrong, but the way I was explained poverty differs within each order.The Franciscans call to poverty is not the same as a diocese priest, Jesuit, secular priest, etc.There are degrees within the Franciscan order as well. If you are a Franciscan priest you have the grace to follow that poverty as well as a constitution that you took vows over to obey. So why is Franciscan poverty being imposed on all priests. I know Pope Francis took the named Francis, but why would a Jesuit be living Franciscan poverty so publicly.What is the char ism of the Jesuits? Isn’t this all personal decision anyway. Wouldn’t true humility mean we didn’t know anything about these personal decisions? Aren’t these decisions specific and personal to each priest and situation??? No respect intended, but I did not think the parking lot attendant was the Pope’s business. There are so many larger problems that only the Pope can handle.

  30. FloridaJoan says:

    eben:

    a ’67 Fiat 600 ? oh no, not a “fix it again Tony” !!! LOL

    pax et bonum

  31. frjim4321 says:

    [Is that a big problem in diocesan priesthood? And is some of that debt their bill for seminary?]

    I am definitely under that impression, especially if a guy went to a private college, had debt, and then went into pre-theology and the five year major seminary with no way to pay the college loans for six years.

    In my day it seemed that more guys were coming from a “hot house” environment, many with very supportive parents, including financially. A few guys in my class were given cars at ordination, I think that was common for a while.

    I was lucky in that I drove beaters for many years and saved a little money, in fact the car I have now is only the third new car that I’ve ever had, probably half of most of my classmates. Was also lucky to have family/friends with some vacation places.

    I think there are less such opportunities like that these days, it seems like more guys are ordained with debt, parents maybe unable to assist financially, etc.

  32. DB1995 says:

    There is something to be said for the Holy Father’s comments and example. Yet, someone makes the nice cars (disclaimer, I have a nice, modest car, but nothing European or overly fancy). If people all the sudden stop buying “nice” cars or new cars, that could effect sales, reduce production and ultimately cost solid-middle income auto-manufacturing jobs. We’ve dealt with this same thing in how the current administration started attacking business jets (it’s a winning populist issue), but those jets actually serve a useful biz purpose for those who use them; and even more so, aviation manufacturing was the one area of manufacturing where the U.S. used to still lead the world (I don’t know if we still do), and this created well-paying blue-collar jobs. Plus this industry had a huge workforce multiplier: For every job directly created by a biz jet order, there were 25+ indirect (supply, etc.) jobs created. Now, with the stigma attached to biz jets, sales are down, and guess what, more hard-working people who want to work, don’t have jobs. Again, there is a valuable example being set, but I do wonder if the full economic consequence is not being thought through on the one end or the other (mine). I am open to correction.

  33. pseudomodo says:

    I worked as a volunteer at the open air mass when Bl. John Paul II visited Abbotsford in Canada. A friend of mine who wass then an RCMP officer was working security.

    Before the mass, a limo rolled up at the gate and a the chauffer got out and let a priest out of the limo.

    He was immediatly arrested… the priest, not the chauffer…

  34. everett says:

    In regards to debt, I know that when I was in the college seminary, there were people in pre-theology who definitely had debt issues, primarily college related debt. My experience is that at least as far as diocesan seminaries go, those costs are covered, at least for theology and usually pre-theology. In the college seminary I was at, I believe the college gave a 25% discount for seminarians on tuition, and the diocese paid another 25% of the tuition, leaving 50% to the student (though hopefully they’d have scholarships from the school to cover much or all of that). Here’s a story from that least popular publication from last year on the problem:

    http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/student-loan-debt-may-prevent-many-us-catholics-entering-religious-orders

    There are apostolates out there for helping with tuition debt. Here’s one I know of:

    http://labouresociety.org/

  35. GOR says:

    I think that a priest could avoid most automobile criticism if he drove…a 4×4 pickup truck!

    Unless, of course, it were the Ford Harley Davidson model (now discontinued).

    As to the ‘scruplespoon’… For you youngsters this was always used at Masses in my youth – when the Usus Antiquior was the only Mass in town!

    But I never heard it called that back then…

  36. ACS67 says:

    The priests who are so upset about what the Holy Father said in regards to expensive cars must have a guilty conscience. :-) [Or maybe they are annoyed with the way some people latch onto vague moralisms.]

  37. jbas says:

    There could be an “index of forbidden cars”. As for the scruple spoon, I say Mass in a county jail each week where I’m only allowed to bring in one ounce of wine. I’m always worried that I’ll accidentally pour in too much water and invalidate the Mass.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

    [Index Autocinetorum Prohibitorum! Well done, good and faithful servant.]

  38. jbas says:

    The reality is that those few priests who have expensive cars will wave away any criticisms, while the humbler priests who are already burdened down with pastoral worries will be the only ones to start worrying now about their cars.
    Anytime you want to make yourself look good in the eyes of the masses, just start criticizing priests. Priests are easy targets.

  39. Imrahil says:

    Rev’d dear @Fr. Z, good thing that you said it was a joke. Under the hypothesis that I were a priest (now let’s not talk about that any further), I could very well imagine to write such a letter.

    Though less for reason of actual scruples, but that thing – is there a word for it – of showing one’s discontent with an order by punctiliously obeying it or in the most formal manner applying for dispensations.

  40. Jbuntin says:

    Fr. Lovebeads, I think I know his brother Fr. Flowerchild.

    [That's the guy!]

  41. idelsan says:

    The Pope was talking about poverty, not cars. Poverty it’s a virtue, so it’s something EVERY CHRISTIAN has to fight for. So, to you, “Oh critical parishioner”: stop looking at the priest’s car, and look in your garage. What car do you own?.

  42. BTW, neither Rahner nor Schillebeeckx drove luxury cars.

    As a dyed-in-the-wool lover of driver’s vehicles (BMW, Maserati, Ferrari, etc.) I can only assume that the automotive judgment of those two alleged theologians pretty well matches their theological reasoning and insight. Although I have only had the privilege of owning one used BMW 328, purchased pre-owned in about 2000 and traded in on President’s Day weekend 2008 for a new 2009 Toyota Corolla, and of driving one Maserati Sebring from L.A.’s San Fernando Valley to Monterey with a brief excursion to Santa Cruz thence back to Monterey, I would give my eye teeth for a car with the handling of either of the aforementioned, and with equivalent damping of road noise, but priced like the Corolla. The only experiences that were as, or more, relaxing than driving the Maserati were ten laps of Laguna Seca Raceway in 1980 on a track prepared Kawasaki KZ550, and two weeks driving about Germany on travel orders in a rented current year Audi 90. And I have never been faster on a public roadway than ~135 mph (indicated)—the Maserati passing three cars on California Hwy 68, the Audi on the Autobahn and my 1978 Ducati 900SS on a controlled-access section of US-101 South of San Jose, CA.

    And it is in the final analysis all about the driving/riding, not about luxury or wealth or prestige. All of one’s focus is centered on being at all times fully aware of one’s surroundings.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    Pax et bonum,

  43. Jack Hughes says:

    My two cents

    In a large urban environment such as Buenos Aries, London, New York or Paris there exists a reasonably reliable and reasonably priced public transport network, in addition the number of parishes in such an area means that the average Priest can walk to visit most of his parishioners (although note that public transport isn’t automatically safe, especially at night). He still might need a car for visiting parents, going on retreat etc.

    In a rural diocese a reliable car is a necessity, a Priest might be covering an area of 10 square miles and needs to be able to move about swiftly with ease, most of the time a expensive car is more reliable and therefore more prudent to use.

    Regardless of the situation sometimes a nice car is the one nice possession in the world he will own and I won’t judge any Priest for the car he owns.

  44. cl00bie says:

    I drive a 2004 Mercedes C-Class that I bought used. It cost me less than twice what my other used cars cost me (and about a third of the price of a new Prius), and I expect it to last twice as long. This means I’ll have to buy one, maybe two less cars, and I’ll be able to give that money to the poor. Is that okay? Do you think that would pass papal muster?