Shun those SUVs, local prelates urged


Shun those SUVs.

The election of Pope Francis is a sign that Church people in the Philippines should shun “luxurious” and “scandalous” lifestyles, like changing cars every so often, the executive secretary of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) said Thursday.

Carmelite Fr. Marlon Lacal said the simple lifestyle of then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he was still archbishop of Buenos Aires was an example that should be followed by the clergy and religious in the country.

Bergoglio abandoned his episcopal palace in Buenos Aires for a simple apartment, cooked his own food and ditched his chauffeured limousine to take the bus or train to work.

In the Philippines, some bishops acknowledged receiving funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, an agency that supports projects for the poor, for the acquisition of vehicles, including SUVs.

An archbishop in Mindanao wrote then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asking for an SUV because it was his birthday. The archbishop said he needed a four-wheel drive for his visits to far-flung areas.

Shortly after his election on Wednesday night, Pope Francis shunned the papal limousine and rode on the last shuttle bus with other cardinals to go back to a residence inside the Vatican for a meal.

Humble side

That showed his humble side, according to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who gave an insider’s look into the hours immediately after Bergoglio was elected.

Dolan said most of the cardinals had taken buses back to their residence in the Vatican and had lined up to greet the new Pope as he arrived for their last meal as a group.

They were expecting him to arrive in the limousine that they had seen waiting for him at the base of the Apostolic Palace.

“And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off? It’s Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver: ‘That’s OK, I’ll just go with the boys,’” Dolan told reporters at the American seminary in Rome, the North American College.

Living in poverty

Lacal pointed out that Bergoglio chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Francis of Assisi, the popular Italian saint who was known for turning his back on his family’s wealth and living in poverty.

“(Bergoglio’s) simple lifestyle is a good example for the Church to go back to the basics and live the simplicity of Christ. We should really live out our promise of poverty. I’m very happy that he chose the name Francis,” the AMRSP executive secretary said in an interview.

“That means you don’t accumulate wealth for yourself and don’t live in luxury, like changing cars again and again. That is scandalous,” Lacal added.

Cause of the poor

He said many religious in the Philippines practice a simple lifestyle, like taking public transportation, but others should avoid scandalizing the faithful with their behavior.

“We are also very happy that the Pope is a religious (or a member of a religious congregation) and he is the first Pope from Latin America,” Lacal said.

The Latin American Church, he said, was known to be progressive in calling out for social justice and taking up the cause of the poor.

Lacal said that Pope Francis had the skills and capability to clean up the Vatican bureaucracy, noting that he had served as the leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina when the military ruled the country in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“He is considered an outsider from the Vatican and so he can be objective in tackling the problems there. His election is a good sign after the calls for Church renewal,” Lacal said.

First Jesuit

He also said that Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope, would be more open to dialogue with other religions and nonbelievers.

“We know that Jesuits are not just good protectors of Church doctrine but are also very engaging and more open to dialogue,” Lacal said.

He said the Pope’s progressive stance on some political issues while he was still archbishop of Buenos Aires made AMRSP hopeful that he would be able to provide insight and leadership to the burning social justice issues of the day.

Lacal added that people disappointed that the new Pope was conservative on Church doctrine should not have been surprised.

“Many Church people, like us in the AMRSP, are active in social issues but we also understand that our leaders should preserve Church teachings and that the development of doctrine takes a lot of time,” he added.

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  • doublecross

    naku, mahirap mangyari yan….kayo pa.

  • kismaytami

    If papa damaso really wants to shun luxuries of his subordinates, he’ll gonna make a solid rock law for against it, not just lip service during masses or press conferences. He’s leadership is weak if his subordinates’ luxurious lifestyle remain the same, which has always been the case with past popes.


    SANA merong maligaw na taga CBCP dito at mabasa ang mga kuro-kuro sa forum. Alam kong hindi valid representative ang dami at kilatis ng mga manunuat dito, pero ina-akala mo na sapat na ito upang gisingin ang diwa, damdamin, at kaisipan ng samahang yan upang baguhin ang kanilang pananaw at pamamaraan ng pamamahala ng kani-kanilang area of responsibilities ng magkaroon ng kahit na kaunting pagtitiwala sa sarili ang mga kabayan na buo pa din ang kanilang pananalig sa kabila ng lahat.

    TAO lamang tayong LAHAT at walang kahit na sino ang nararapat na mag-isip na nakakahigit siya sa kahit na kanino kahit na gaano ang dami at laki ng kanyang kayamanan at walang kahit na sino ang nararapat na mag-isip na siya ay nahihigitan ng kahit na sinupaman kahit na gaano ka-kaunti o ka-liit ang kanyang pag-aari sa daigdig na ito. PARE-PAREHO lamang tayong LAHAT na may EXPIRATION DATE. At pagdating ng takdang araw na yan, ke mayaman o mmahirap ka, ke titulado o hindi, ke ano ka pa man, alin sa dalawa lamang ang patutunguhan: sa ilalim ng lupa o sa sa lalagyan ng abo (urn).

  • Natx Bacalzo

    What ? No SUV anymore? You’re joking!

  • Serom

    But priest and bishops in PH do not have that vow of poverty that’s why most live luxurious lives. They do not live the life as shown by Jesus Christ.

  • JosengSisiw1

    shun the politics
    shun the SUV’s
    shun the beer houses
    shun touching boys/girls
    shun the women/men
    shun making children
    or if the priest and bishop can’t do the above
    shun the church…..go away…

  • tarikan

    Now with the new Pope Francis’s stewardship of the Catholic Church, maybe it’s time to dispose of it’s vast landholdings in the Philippines (Attn: Luis Cardinal Tagle & Co.) by way of donation to the their local governments to be used as sites for school, hospital, senior citizen center, feeding centers for the poor, etc. Sabagay laway laang naman ang puhunan nyu dyan.


    Did Tagle, who many claim is humble and down to earth, refuse his palace as Pope Francis did when he was Archbishop and move into a simple apartment?

  • frudo

    at wag na rin maki sawsaw sa pulitika. makialam, at mag endorso ng candidato, tumino na sana sila kasi nasisislip na.

  • Populovich

    Why don’t we make Jesus Christ our example in simplicity, faith and conduct. He has been before any person. Why wait for another pope to reform. Jesus Christ is the head of the church and He alone deserve all the attention, devotion, praise and worship. Even Peter refused to be worshipped. If we want to improve our faith we must make Jesus Christ the center of our lives, not any person. We are all created anyway for His pleasure, to please Him, to revere Him, to adore Him. Not to any man..

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