(Photo: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)
A Colombian priest from Santa Marta has decided to sell his Mercedes Benz car after being inspired by the words of Pope Francis, who criticized priests who spend large amounts of money on luxury cars.
The Rev. Hernando Fayid apparently told Colombian RCN television that he received the white Mercedes Benz E200 as a gift from his four brothers a year ago, but now feels that the best choice will be to sell the car. The Associated Press noted that the 47-year-old Roman Catholic priest is hoping to get $63,000 for the car, though the report did not share what he plans to do with the money.
Fayid revealed that in the past he has ridden a burro, a horse, a bicycle and a bus, and has "no problem" with going back to that lifestyle after he manages to sell the car.
Pope Francis has often talked about the importance of living humbly and dedicating one's life to God, not money, throughout his time as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. On Saturday, he encouraged fellow priests to choose "humble" options rather than spend large amounts of money on luxurious vehicles.
"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, extending his message to smartphones and fashion accessories.
"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 added.
Pope Francis has lived a life that is the same as he preaches, opting to go to work by bus rather than a private car while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina. As Pope, he has decided to live in the Vatican guest house rather than the lavish papal apartments that his predecessors occupied.
Cardinal Ruben Salazar, the president of Colombia's Bishops Conference, said that the Latin American church has always embraced austerity, AP noted.
"We priests undoubtedly have to be very conscious that we have to live with our people, in the conditions in which our people live," Salazar said.
In a speech in June, Pope Francis argued that mankind is in crisis because money rules today's world.
"The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person is in danger today, here is the urgency of human ecology," the Vatican leader 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.'"