Bishops with flash cars


I went to Friday prayer meeting today and the discussion was about our Bishops and their cars. The question that was raised: Why does our Bishop (and mostly all Bishops) drive a top of the range executive saloon car instead of a basic model? (He usually gets a new model every three years).

Both sides greed that having a new car every three years was acceptable, in that, the car would reasonably be expected not to break down and thus avoid the Bishop missing any of his engagements.

However, each side disagreed upon the choice of model i.e. expensive luxurious model v basic model. One side argued that you couldn’t expect the Bishop to turn up for engagements in a basic model because that it would look inappropriate for his office/post.

The other side argued that (on Palm Sunday) when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He did so on the back of a colt at His request. He didn’t request to be carried upon a throne (Mark 11:1-11). Jesus might also have thought of which was appropriate? :ehh:


When I first saw this thread…I thought it said “Bishops with Flash Cards…” I didn’t understand why the Bishops would be working on addition and subtraction. :smiley:

I think that religious should have reliable cars, but certainly not top of the line. There are better uses for that money.


You should not assume that they are purchasing a new car.

In our diocese, a car dealership gives our Bishop a car for his use-- a fleet car. It is replaced periodically by the dealership. We also know several priests who have had cars bought for them or given to them by generous parishioners.

Find out the facts before you assume anything.


I agree that the bishop should have a reliable car. They do ALOT of driving. Our bishop probably drives more in a week than I do in a month. I don’t think he should receive a “top of the line luxury car” however. Like 1ke said though it could be donated to him or could have something worked out with the dealer.


A lot of them need the bigger cars because they drive other people in them. I see no problem in them having the big Buicks or even Lincolns. I don’t see any of them driving a Mercedes Benz S550,


I had an argument with a friend not to long ago over weather or not clergy could own Saturns.

First I pointed out not every religious group in the Church takes a vow of extreme poverty. (Opus Dei sure doesn’t for example)

Secondly I pointed out Saturns arnt terribly expensive. They can carry alot of people, or can be configured to carry alot of items in second.

Finally Saturns are among the safest viechles on the road.

My responded. “Yeah… well they stand out to much!”


How is the bishop supposed to stomp on the dealership’s generosity? “Oh, I’m too good to take your free gift. Give me something else.” There may even be a bequest involved, in which case the dealer couldn’t give the bishop anything else but what he does.

I’m probably a bit sensitive on this issue right now, as we have a family member who keeps sending gifts back to their givers as soon as she thinks they’re “too much”. The problem is, it’s not like she gives you a dollar amount so you’d know her limit… Also, she apparently sent back her Christmas present to me, but it never even got back to me so that I’d know! LOL! Hope somebody got it!


A Saturn is a luxury car?


My pastor drives a Linconln Town Car- it’s about ten years old and still runs, but it was practically brand new when he got it.


It had been the previous year’s floor model, and the dealership gave him a deal on it, more so because he was a priest.

I understand that it’s fairly common practice. I know it’s fairly common for dealerships to sell vehicles to clergy at reduced cost, or to give them outright.

So, are they supposed to not drive the car because it’s a little too nice?


Bishops are important leaders of our Church and should have a suitable car in which to conduct their business. I’m sure in more ancient times they had a nice team of horses and a comfortable carriage. I see nothing wrong with a Bishop having a nice set of wheels to travel in.


A LOT of the times clergy, Bishops included, get given a car by someone or some company. If his car was a gift, and it is a nice model, he should keep it and enjoy it.

I think priests should have nice cars. Now, not nice as in a Lexus, but the priests in the diocese put tons of miles on their cars. They should have something comfortable and nice.


I agree. Diocean priests don’t take vows of poverty. I don’t see any reason why they can’t have a nice car. There’s nothing inherently noble about driving a rat trap. A car is merely a tool in which to get around. Priests need all the help they can get and reliable transportation in this mobile society is imperative. A nice CD player to listen to one’s favorite music is also a boon.


Could not resist. Please see link below.

ps - “how does the prayer meeting” turn into worrying about someone else’s posessions, especially the bishop? :juggle:


Although, I think that the donkey was considered a royal animal since horses were obtained from Egypt and thus inappropriate.

I’ve heard that the nuncios are not supposed to drive luxury cars.


Since when would we equate personal holiness of anybody (bishop or otherwise) with outward symbols like cars? How shallow, judgmental and divisive that would be, IMO.

This smacks to me of that hideous semi-iconoclassicism cum Marxist ideology that, in order to be most perfect, everybody but especially clergy or ministers, should exist in the barest poverty because to do so is to most perfectly emulate Jesus. Likewise, any church with ‘stained glass’ windows should rip em out and ‘give the money to the poor.’ Ditto with ‘gold’ chalices, vestments, etc. Doesn’t matter if they’re 200 or even 1000 year old donations, given by people whose wishes are to be thoroughly disregarded. . .‘give the money to the poor’. I’d love to have been there when the first disgruntled Israelite saw the Ark of the Covenant, walked through it with a sniff, and went out and told the other Israelites, “Did you SEE all the gold, and silver, precious wood, and fine linen there? Oy vey, that stuff should be taken out and given to the poor!”

Certainly the Bible tells us that “it is harder for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (and of course it goes on to say that for any–rich or poor alike–it is **impossible **but that for God all things are possible).

The Bible also speaks quite eloquently of a man who was infuriated that perfume was ‘wasted’ on a man when ‘the money could have been given to the poor’. Curiously enough the man who spoke this way was not Jesus, but Judas. . .:rolleyes:

See, this is yet another reason why cherry picking Scripture just doesn’t work. For every ‘give to the poor’ (which is a good thing, please do not get me wrong), there is “to him that has more, more shall be given, and from him who has little, even that little will be taken away”. For every ‘we are saved by faith and not works’ there is a “faith without works is dead”,etc.

I personally have great respect for those who choose to live in ways where they can ‘give’ the most to others. But I don’t just assume that if Father X is driving a ‘nicer’ car than mine (which wouldn’t be hard considering mine is 17 years old, LOL) that I am ‘holier’ or more considerate of the poor than Father X.

Comparisons are odious, IMO.


If the Pope has a $200K+, custom built, armored conveyance… why not the underlings?


I think that there is a big difference between a bishop driving out of the driveway of his usually palatial mansion in a luxurious motor than someone “existing in the barest poverty”.

(IMO. Something stinks in Denmark and it ain’t the fish!)


I think you should try *praying *at your prayer meeting, rather than gossiping.


One quick question–when the bishop dies, does that palatial mansion, or that nice car, go to his heirs or family, or do they ‘stay’ right there for the next bishop?

IOW, are we talking about a person who buys things for himself–and can dispose of them to whomever he chooses–or are we talking about a person who has things given for his use–as a bishop/priest etc.-- much as we laity can drive a company car, or as a mayor has the ‘mayoral digs’ while he is mayor, but when we leave the company or end the stint as mayor, have to walk away from the things?

The bishop is in a sense ‘on duty’ 24/7, as is the priest, so he is ‘in that palatial mansion’ --on duty, and he has the ‘wheels’ or the vestments or the gold cups–to use on duty, as those things (or in earlier times horses instead of cars) were used for those bishops/priests before him, and will be used, again, by those bishops/priests after him. . .

The ‘mansion’, the ‘car’ are not for ‘Bob Smith who happens to be bishop’ but for "the bishop, who happens to be Robert Smith’. . . a major difference. The ‘things’ are for the office, held by a given person–not for a given person who happens to hold the office.

I guess some people just can’t seem to grasp the difference.

When Jesus was escorted into Jerusalem He didn’t walk just like ‘one of the folks’. He rode as would a person of importance and dignity. The people held up palm branches–likewise a sign indicating His importance. Jesus didn’t say, “hey, stop with all the ceremony here. Sell those palm branches and give the money to the poor. Sell the donkey too by the way, I can hoof it myself”. He was treated (all too briefly) as the Messiah He was, and He didn’t contradict those who treated him as such.

Again, I guess if there are people like those gossiping in the OP who just get so caught up on judging and appearances and holier-than-thouism about other people, it isn’t surprising that they would put the meanest and snarkiest interpretation onto the bishop’s car etc.


I know Cardinal Maida owns a 3-4 year old Ford Taurus (at least that’s the car that usually parked in his designated spot at the seminary), but it’s not uncommon for him to drive loaner cars lent to him by Catholic auto dealers ( I see those in his spot as well, with Michigan dealer plates).

The same is true when Cardinal Szoka comes back from Rome during the summer. He usually drives a dealer loaner car.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit