Following comments by Pope Francis condemning priests for living extravagant lifestyles that include spending large sums of money to purchase luxury cars, a Colombian priest from Santa Maria has heeded the call and decided to sell his Mercedes Benz.
The Rev. Hernando Fayid reportedly told Colombian RCN television that a year ago his four brothers presented him with a white Mercedes Benz E200 as a gift. However, he now believes the best thing he could do would be to sell the car. According to the Associated Press, Fayid is hoping to get $63,000 from the sale of the vehicle, however, they did not report what he plans to do with the money.
Fayid has said in the past he has ridden a burro, horse, a bicycle and a bus, and therefore has no problem going back to living that lifestyle after the car is sold.
Francis, who assumed the papacy following the abrupt retirement of Pope Benedict, is the first pope from the America’s and is a former Jesuit priest. Since taking office Francis has frequently condemned members of the clergy who do not live humble and live modestly by dedicating their lives to God rather than money. However, on Saturday he became very specific and encouraged fellow priests to choose “humble” options and not spend large amounts of money on luxurious automobiles.
“It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can’t do this,” Pope Francis told young priests and nuns in training, “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.”
The pontiff did not limit his message of frugality to expensive cars but extended his message to smartphones and fashion accessories as well.
Pope Francis has been known as living a lifestyle of practicing what he preaches. While Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina he frequently opted to take the bus to go to work rather than driving a private car. Upon accepting the nomination to become pope he stunned leaders in the Catholic church by opting to live in the Vatican guest house rather than living in the lavish papal apartments occupied by his predecessors.
In a June speech, Pope Francis lamented that mankind was in crisis because rather than dedication to God, money ruled the world today.
“The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person is in danger today, here is the urgency of human ecology,” the pope said. “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.'”