Q: The pastor of my sister’s parish just bought a new car. The car he traded in was only two years old. He’s now driving one of the nicest cars in the whole parish. How can a priest keep buying new cars like this if he vowed poverty when he was ordained? –Rick
A: Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike erroneously believe that all Catholic priests are obliged to live in poverty, but in fact this is not the case. Some clergy have made vows of poverty, while others have not. At the same time, some Catholics take a vow of poverty even though they are not and will never be ordained to the priesthood. Readers may find that the actual situation is surprisingly complicated!
There are some religious institutes whose members are required to take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience (c. 573.2). Occasionally additional vows particular to…
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