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Should Priests Drive Fancy Cars?
First Things ^ | August 5, 2013 | William Doino Jr.

Posted on 08/05/2013 2:35:47 PM PDT by NYer

everyman pope

Of all the challenging things Francis has said since becoming pope, none has been more quoted than this line: “How I would like a Church which is poor, and for the poor!”

Simple and direct, it perfectly captures the spirit of Francis’ new pontificate. And what gives it such power and meaning is the personal witness behind it.William Doino Jr.

Francis’ sparse and austere lifestyle is well-known: As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he shunned limousines and chauffeurs, opting instead for public transportation. Rather than live in the bishop’s residence, he chose a modest apartment. After becoming cardinal, he continued his own grocery shopping and even cooked his own meals.

Elevated to the Chair of St. Peter, many expected him to change habits, but Francis declined. He insisted on paying his own hotel bill, carrying his luggage, and living in a Vatican guesthouse rather than the Apostolic Palace.

Had he left it at that, many would have noted the new pope’s frugal lifestyle and commended his humility. But Francis has done something more: He challenged others to live more modestly themselves.

In a speech last month, Francis warned religious that following the latest fashions, in technology or dress, was not the route to happiness, much less suitable for their state in life:

It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car. . . . 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.

Familiar as these comments should be—who hasn’t been told by their parents not to be wasteful, with so many people starving in the world?—they sparked a mini-uproar. Francis was rebuked by defenders of the auto industry, who pointed out that he himself recently received the keys to the expensive popemobile; was accused of bad economics, since inexpensive cars often break down and harm the economy; and certain traditionalists asked how he could be raising such trivial concerns when there was so much dissent going on in the Church.

Never mind that Francis has already cut his use of the popemobile (developed for the pope’s safety, not comfort), or that he never said one should buy a cheap, unworkable car (only a modest one), or that he has already indicated he will brook no dissent on essentials of the faith. Francis clearly touched a nerve, and his critics, both in and outside the Church, felt it.

In fairness to those who respectfully question Francis, the Church has never forbidden all examples of splendor, especially those which pay homage to God: Jesus graciously accepted the alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, even as those around him objected; and when it comes to the liturgy, sometimes more is more. As one commentator wrote in a spirited exchange with back-to-simplicity campaigners:

I agree that clerics should be humble and have a poverty of spirit in their everyday lives. I do not understand, however, why progressive Catholics are so bothered by formal liturgical dress. . . . Human beings are physical creatures who perceive through their senses. The Church has always had a physical sacramentality to reflect this fact. Liturgical ‘pomp’ . . . serves to elevate the mind of the worshipper to God, to beauty and the sacred. If the priest and the congregation wear shabby clothes and vestments to mass there will be no elevation of the spirit via the senses, no physical reminders that the mass is different than going to a ball game, that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Faith.

One trusts that Francis appreciates this fact, even if he himself prefers more low-key, reverent Masses.

That said, the Pope deserves praise for speaking out against conspicuous consumption and urging religious to adopt a more humble way of life. Following the example of Our Lord, the saints and doctors of the church have always stressed the Beatitudes, the first of which is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” The need for personal sacrifice and discipline, in order to serve others, is at the very heart of the Gospel and should inspire every Christian, especially priests.

Historically, and continuing in our day, great harm has been done to the Church by an association with wealth and privilege. No one identified the problem better than St. Catherine of Siena, who, in a passionate letter to Pope Gregory XI on the reform of the clergy, wrote these searing words:

Alas, what confusion is this, to see those who ought to be a mirror of voluntary poverty, meek as lambs, distributing the possessions of Holy Church to the poor: and they appear in such luxury and state and pomp and worldly vanity, more than if they had turned them to the world a thousand times! Nay, many seculars put them to shame who live a good and holy life. . . . Holy Church should return to her first condition, poor, humble, and meek as she was in that holy time when men took note of nothing but the honor of God and the salvation of souls, caring for spiritual things and not for temporal. For ever since she has aimed at more temporal than at spiritual, things have gone from bad to worse.

Many of Francis’ predecessors have also made sacrifices and eschewed comfort. Among the most memorable examples is what Pius XII did during the Second World War. Sr. Margherita Marchione writes:

Out of solidarity with the miserable conditions of the people, he did not drink even a single cup of coffee, knowing the people had no coffee. He knew that heating fuel was in short supply, and he ordered the papal apartment to be kept without heat, even during the winter. During the war he did not take any vacations and did not go to Castelgandolfo.

Instead, Pius opened up the large papal residence for thousands of poor and persecuted people, who subsequently thanked him for saving their lives.

The outpouring of love and affection that has greeted Francis’ pontificate has a great deal to do with his modesty and commitment to the poor, and already prompted one priest to sell his luxury car. Leading churchmen have said that Francis has caused them to rethink their own elegant lifestyles, and at Commonweal, Michael Garvey argues persuasively that Francis’ words shouldn’t be restricted to the clergy, but should motivate everyone:

When the newly elected Pope Francis said that he longs for a Church that is poor and for the poor, he undoubtedly had overdressed and bejeweled cardinals, careerists bishops, and cufflink priests in mind, but he was addressing all the rest of us, too. Just because I don’t sit on a Bernini throne, keep a limo driver on hold or have a staff of vowed religious waiting on me at dinnertime doesn’t mean that I have no ballast to throw out, no occluded lifestyles to simplify, open up and focus.

To those who fear Francis’ approach is diminishing the papacy and forgoing things necessary to protect Christianity, one need only consult the Gospel of St. Matthew:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart will be also.

Pope Francis knows where our true riches lie, and by humbling himself and renouncing so many pleasures in this world, he is in fact elevating the papacy and attracting souls to Christ in ways that truly befit his leading representative on earth.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; popefrancis
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1 posted on 08/05/2013 2:35:47 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

A crowd mobs the silver Fiat carrying Pope Francis through Rio de Janeiro
2 posted on 08/05/2013 2:37:06 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Priests take a vow of celibacy. They do not take a vow of poverty.


3 posted on 08/05/2013 2:39:33 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2

Religious-order priests, such as Pope Francis, do take a vow of poverty. Anyway, we are all called to practice evangelical poverty, appropriate to our station in life, just as we are called to practice chastity and obedience.


4 posted on 08/05/2013 2:46:19 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Ask me about the Weiner Wager. Support Free Republic!)
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To: Georgia Girl 2
Should Priests Drive Fancy Cars?

Only if they have a small (rosarie?)

5 posted on 08/05/2013 2:47:51 PM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: NYer; Georgia Girl 2
The article seems to ignore a very obvious fact: he is a Jesuit.

GG2, Jesuit priests do indeed take a vow of poverty.

Pope Francis did not renounce his vows when he became Pope.

6 posted on 08/05/2013 2:49:28 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: NYer

Drive, hell.
Somebody drives FOR him.

Kind of like Justin Bieber or Bill Maher.


7 posted on 08/05/2013 2:53:28 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: Tax-chick

Well I think common sense is the rule here. A priest driving a Mercedes is probably really bad optics. I don’t know any that do or would But they are not required to drive a beater either.

Frankly I don’t want my priest breaking down on the side of the road when I’m in the hospital waiting on last rites. :-)


8 posted on 08/05/2013 2:56:59 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: NYer

One of my early church memories is my parents receiving a letter from the local church asking for money so the Monsignor could get a new Cadillac. My parents - both very conservative - were furious. They changed parishes.

The fact is that it looks lousy. That’s not why people put money in a church basket. It’s bad stewardship.


9 posted on 08/05/2013 3:00:37 PM PDT by Hilda
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To: Hilda

That Monsignor had chutzpah! I guess in his favor, he had honesty. Maybe he sent out the letter as a form of lesson.


10 posted on 08/05/2013 3:12:14 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Hilda

so the Monsignor could get a new Cadillac. My parents - both very conservative - were furious.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Don’t know your ‘age’ range BUT I remember back in my ‘Altar Boy’ days of the 50’s that the Church or KOFC or a Womans Group or a Mens Group or the BINGO would have a drawing about once a year for a new car and ALL in the Parish, including the non believers, were sold ‘tickets’ for the new car which was to be raffled.
Well we know the Lord ‘looks out for his own’ as I seem to remember it was always a Priest or Nun or such that won the raffle.
I, noticed this immediately and wonder(ed) why the adults didn’t.

In later life it led me to quip at various raffles at the VFW and AL that “since you bought so many tickets I will make sure some of them get in the drum”, naturally I was joking but I wonder where I got that idea???? <: <:


11 posted on 08/05/2013 3:16:07 PM PDT by xrmusn (6/98 --Inside every 'older' man there is a 'younger' man wondering "WTF happened")
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To: humblegunner
Or like Ronald Reagan.

Or like Billy Graham.

12 posted on 08/05/2013 3:21:24 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: Georgia Girl 2
I think common sense is the rule here.

As far as I can see, so does Pope Francis. A priest should have transportation that will allow him to perform his duties efficiently and safety.

My pastor has an Audi sedan, very safe and reliable. I think his family bought it for him. Some priests can walk or use public transportation or rarely leave their missions, and don't need to have a personal vehicle at all.

All of them - and all lay people, too - should be asking themselves, "Is this good stewardship? Is this apostolic?"

13 posted on 08/05/2013 3:26:49 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Ask me about the Weiner Wager. Support Free Republic!)
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To: NYer

If 5th generation welfare recipients can, whats the matter with priests. They at least get it by consent, not by government force.


14 posted on 08/05/2013 3:32:34 PM PDT by DeWalt
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To: Hilda

Fifty years ago, the pastor of our parish drove a black 1960 Ford Falcon. Sometimes he did, since it was usually commandeered by the nuns running errands. We had three priests, twenty nuns & a convent, a huge grade school, and the church in the school ground floor & the cafeteria converted to extra space for Mass.

And one automobile. The bishop of our diocese rode in a chauffeured Cadillac.


15 posted on 08/05/2013 3:32:52 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: Georgia Girl 2

If they are in an order, they might take a vow of poverty. Diocesan priests usually do not.


16 posted on 08/05/2013 3:41:17 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

I like this Pope and I’m not even Catholic!


17 posted on 08/05/2013 3:41:54 PM PDT by NonValueAdded ("When there is no penalty for failure, failures proliferate." George F. Will)
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To: NYer
It's good to be humble, as long as it isn't taken too far.

.


18 posted on 08/05/2013 3:55:53 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (People are idiots.)
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To: wideawake; humblegunner
Or like Ronald Reagan. President Reagan driving the CJ6 photo PresidentReaganDrivinghisCJ6.jpg
19 posted on 08/05/2013 3:58:48 PM PDT by MeganC (A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll never need one again.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2
A priest driving a Mercedes is probably really bad optics.

Could be worse.

.


20 posted on 08/05/2013 3:59:32 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (People are idiots.)
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To: NYer

a rich priest should . . . if he chooses to.


21 posted on 08/05/2013 4:02:29 PM PDT by Oratam
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To: NYer
Once upon a time, all Catholic priests were required to take an oath of "poverty, chastity and obedience..."

What happened? Many of us wonder.

22 posted on 08/05/2013 4:14:21 PM PDT by publius911 (Look for the Union label, then buy something else.)
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To: publius911

Poverty is fine, most priests receive very little from the catholic church. They do not own their cars. The church does.

In the 70’s, our church who had 8 priests, 20 some nuns, and 40 some clergy (St. Benedict’s in Chicago), had a Cadillac with suicide doors. I am not sure of the year model of the car. They all shared it.

Yes, it was a nice car, but, our church also had gold vaulted ceilings, and alabaster columns.

The church was ostentatious to show its power, wealth, as were all Catholic Church’s.

By no means were the priests getting rich.


23 posted on 08/05/2013 4:24:28 PM PDT by esoxmagnum (The rats have been trained to pull the D voting lever to get their little food pellet)
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To: Oratam

My priest in Nova Scotia, Pere Marinelli, drove a Mercedez. He would fit as many young hockey players into his car as possible to take them to a game. I don’t think anybody ever questioned his integrity and unselfishness. People cried when he was transferred from the parish. I remember him to this day.


24 posted on 08/05/2013 4:42:28 PM PDT by novascotianative
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To: NYer

Priests are free and are able to drive anything they can afford. Those with a vow of poverty probably raise eyebrows by driving Corvettes, and that means their “vow of poverty” is being cheapened in the eyes of outsiders. In their case, I’d say it isn’t wise, but that doesn’t change their freedom.

With diocesan or others with no vow of poverty, then they should drive what they can afford to drive.


25 posted on 08/05/2013 4:45:51 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: NYer

Some time ago, our parish priest (a navy chaplain) bought a very well used TVR 2500 sports car and I spent a lot of time helping him get that thing running. One Saturday, he was driving with excessive brio and we were pulled over. The cop was apparently a Catholic too and when he spotted our priest’s roman collar, he said something like: “Father! What were you doing driving like that?”. Our hotrodding priest said “Oh, give me a break - I gave up sex, didn’t I?”. The red-faced young cop just told to get going and behave.


26 posted on 08/05/2013 5:10:11 PM PDT by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: NYer

Some time ago, our parish priest (a navy chaplain) bought a very well used TVR 2500 sports car and I spent a lot of time helping him get that thing running. One Saturday, he was driving with excessive brio and we were pulled over. The cop was apparently a Catholic too and when he spotted our priest’s roman collar, he said something like: “Father! What were you doing driving like that?”. Our hotrodding priest said “Oh, give me a break - I gave up sex, didn’t I?”. The red-faced young cop just told to get going and behave.


27 posted on 08/05/2013 5:10:13 PM PDT by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: Tax-chick

I’d ditch the Audi and put him in a Jeep, even more safer, reliable and less expensive.


28 posted on 08/05/2013 5:10:54 PM PDT by MSF BU (n)
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To: esoxmagnum

How is that parish doing now?


29 posted on 08/05/2013 5:12:27 PM PDT by MSF BU (n)
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To: NYer

30 posted on 08/05/2013 5:14:40 PM PDT by al_c (http://www.blowoutcongress.com)
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To: MSF BU

Parish priest in Elk Grove circa 1980s, had a new small chevy every other year. Donated by the local Chevy dealer who also took him to the London car show every year, where the priest would hop on a flight and go to Ireland to visit his family.

Good guy and good deal.

When I worked for the state in south Sac, I had many occasions to check a car out of the car pool. Usually had a choice pinto or chevette. On a hot day I had to shut off the air to make it up most onramps and merge into traffic without being killed. I’m sure they bought 4 cylinders which came with 2.


31 posted on 08/05/2013 5:19:25 PM PDT by morphing libertarian
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To: esoxmagnum

Many diocesan priests have their own cars as they typically have not taken a vow of poverty.


32 posted on 08/05/2013 5:21:10 PM PDT by impimp
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To: Chainmail

Lol!!


33 posted on 08/05/2013 5:21:36 PM PDT by NYer ( "Run from places of sin as from the plague."--St John Climacus)
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To: morphing libertarian

That is a safety issue; I really cannot stand underpowered cars! If you want small with decent gas mileage get an old Miata; they typically still have the horsepower to move out of the way.


34 posted on 08/05/2013 5:34:13 PM PDT by MSF BU (n)
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To: al_c
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
35 posted on 08/05/2013 6:39:47 PM PDT by vox_freedom (America is being tested as never before in its history. May God help us.)
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To: MeganC; humblegunner
What point are you trying to make, MeganC?

That President Reagan was never chauffeured? Because that would be false.

Or that Pope Francis has never driven himself anywhere? Because that also would be false.

Nice picture, though.

36 posted on 08/05/2013 7:31:12 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: NYer

Nice people should enjoy their nice things.

There is always going to be some poor drunken wretch too ignorant to help himself let alone anyone else. That doesn’t mean the religious experience has to be cheapened for all the rest - imho.


37 posted on 08/05/2013 10:08:07 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: NYer

The '34 Stutz Bearcat

38 posted on 08/05/2013 10:21:58 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: MSF BU

Jeeps roll over, and the car you have is more economical than the car you don’t.


39 posted on 08/06/2013 3:01:12 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Ask me about the Weiner Wager. Support Free Republic!)
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To: Tax-chick
Lots of considerations involved.

For a priest who has to drive around a lot - a big parish, or several parishes - a good quality, reliable car makes sense.

I can see that the optics of a high-end luxury sedan or sports car are bad, and it also is not as useful for hauling a bunch of parishioners or sisters about, not to mention the new washing machine for the rectory . . .

But I can see a high-end SUV or crossover because of the versatility, reliability, safety, and comfort. You don't want to be in a bouncing tin can if you're on the road for a good part of the day.

40 posted on 08/06/2013 7:12:11 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae. Vicit Leo de Tribu Iuda, Radix David, Alleluia!)
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To: NYer

Personally, I couldn’t care less what kind of car a priest drives. Really.

Regards,


41 posted on 08/06/2013 7:37:33 AM PDT by VermiciousKnid (Sic narro nos totus!)
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To: Liberty Valance
But just try getting parts . . .

. . . our old Triumph TR-6 was bad enough. THERE's a car that a priest should NEVER drive . . . unless he likes spending a lot of time hitchhiking to his destination or getting under the hood.


42 posted on 08/06/2013 7:43:16 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae. Vicit Leo de Tribu Iuda, Radix David, Alleluia!)
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To: AnAmericanMother

I agree.


43 posted on 08/06/2013 8:03:52 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Ask me about the Weiner Wager. Support Free Republic!)
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To: esoxmagnum
The church was ostentatious to show its power, wealth, as were all Catholic Church’s.

Catholic churches are built with great beauty to give glory to God Who is Beauty and Truth.

44 posted on 08/06/2013 9:28:03 AM PDT by pbear8 (the Lord is my light and my salvation)
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To: al_c

I knew it wouldn’t take long to see the Ferrari that Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. drive in “The Cannonball Run”.


45 posted on 08/06/2013 12:51:41 PM PDT by Crolis ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." -GKC)
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To: Tax-chick

Eh, that’s a myth. I am not talking about a circa 1955 model. As for the car I have, the little one (old well maintained Miata) is a pretty damn efficient commuter car, but only for short men. I wouldn’t try to fit anybody tall or “heavy” into it, they’re just not designed to carry those people.


46 posted on 08/06/2013 12:52:16 PM PDT by MSF BU (n)
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To: MSF BU

Miatas are cute. I remember when they came out.

I drive a 15-passenger van.


47 posted on 08/06/2013 12:53:39 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Ask me about the Weiner Wager. Support Free Republic!)
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To: NYer

God bless Pope Francis.


48 posted on 08/06/2013 1:49:37 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Crolis

It was the first thing that came to mind. Hilarious movie!


49 posted on 08/06/2013 2:20:41 PM PDT by al_c (http://www.blowoutcongress.com)
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To: MSF BU

I’m not sure any Catholic diocese are doing as well as they were in the 60’s. I could be wrong. I’m sure there is an exception to every rule.


50 posted on 08/06/2013 2:31:30 PM PDT by esoxmagnum (The rats have been trained to pull the D voting lever to get their little food pellet)
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