Colombia Priest Sells Mercedes Benz in Compliance to Pope Francis’ Call for Austerity, Simplicity
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 11, 2013 1:44 PM EST
In full compliance to orders from the leader of the Roman Catholic church Pope Francis to practice austerity and simplicity at all times, a priest from Colombia has decided to sell off his white Mercedes Benz E200 convertible with a black top to the market for $63,000.
The Rev. Hernando Fayid from Bolgota told RCN television, a private Colombian media outfit, his car was a gift from his brothers in 2012. But he is not attached to it and is willing to give it up in adherence to Pope Francis' wishes that his priest brothers remain simple and devoid of material possessions while pursuing their priestly vocations.
"I have no problem with that," he said on Tuesday, claiming he's ridden a burro, a horse, a bicycle and a bus.
Since his installation on March, Pope Francis had consistently reiterated he wants a poor Church and a Church that serves the poor.
He has instituted a number of austerity measures to show how serious he was on his proclamation, including shunning a pompous installation proceeding, deciding to live in a modest Vatican accommodation housing instead of the palatial apartments and foregoing the customary handout of bonuses to Vatican employees every time there is an election of a new pontiff.
To say that Fr Fayid is just following the example of his spiritual leader is just plain understatement. And this humbling gesture was very much appreciated by his fellow Colombian citizens.
"Priests should provide an example of humility," Leydi Vega, an accounting assistant, told AP. Although "no one is asking them to live in extreme poverty ... or to die from hunger," people who jobs center around such vocations are nonetheless also expected to live simply.
Cardinal Ruben Salazar, president of Colombia's Bishops Conference, said Latin America's Catholic church has no problems embracing austerity, noting that each of the estimated 10,000 Colombian priests in the country only receive a measly $620 stipend per month.
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