When the Pastor Drives a Cadillac February 10, 2011

When the Pastor Drives a Cadillac

There’s a (very, very) long anti-Scientology article by Lawrence Wright in the latest New Yorker that deserves a skimming.

I won’t go into detail here — but I think several of you have experienced something similar to Paul Haggis in this passage:

[Haggis] was born in 1953, and grew up in London, Ontario, a manufacturing town midway between Toronto and Detroit. His father, Ted, had a construction company there, which specialized in pouring concrete. His mother, Mary, a Catholic, sent Paul and his two younger sisters, Kathy and Jo, to Mass on Sundays — until she spotted their priest driving an expensive car. “God wants me to have a Cadillac,” the priest explained. Mary responded, “Then God doesn’t want us in your church anymore.”

I love the smell of blatant religious hypocrisy. It’s even better when religious people see it for themselves.

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  • ShellyD99

    Years ago, the pastor of my church drove around in a Porsche. But as he explained, he “got a good deal” (which I found ridiculous even at the time).

  • I read this article a few days ago. Yes, the whole thing. 🙂 What can I say, I was at work avoiding doing actual work. I thought it was a great read. Doesn’t seem to matter what the religion is does it? From traditional Catholicism to space-age Scientology, the hypocrisy always seems to run deep.

  • Jek

    It boggles my mind that people don’t laugh in the face of pastors who come out with rubbish like that. I can’t imagine taking someone like that so seriously.

  • Brian

    Well, since with an omniscient god, the pastor’s cadillac was preordained, then so was the lady’s refusal to continue. It’s all the will of god, as the Calvinists insist.

  • Mark O’Leary

    This is a big nothing. Priests are just like other people–some are poor, some are rich. While the priest’s response that God wants him to have a Caddy is stupid (surprise!), this was most likely what’s called a diocesan priest (i.e., ordained by the diocese, not a particular order, a kind of “vanilla” priest–by far the most common kind of priest). Such priests do not take vows of poverty as, for example, the Franciscans or Cistercians do. It’s perfectly possible that a diocesan priest comes from a family with some money, and can well afford a nice car. (He certainly can’t pay for it out of his clerical stipend.) But the reaction against priests who drive expensive cars is not reasonable, any more than a reaction against anyone else with a nice car. Let’s stick to actual issues here, rather than reacting out of ignorance to everything a religious figure does.

  • Alexis

    In the fifties, sixties and seventies one of our local parishes had the biggest bingo in town, and a productive wedding hall rental business. Big money maker. He’d marry nonmembers, especially mixed religion couples when their own churches refused them. His parish rewarded him with a country club membership and a new Caddy every year.

  • JB Tait

    If the priest has an abundance of luxuries and he is demanding donations from those in his parish who are barely feeding their children, then something is wrong.

    But we already knew that.

  • LeAnne

    yep, not surprised at all. some asshole at my family’s old church would park his perfect little white convertible bmw at the very front of the church.. very first spot when you came in the parking lot EVERY SUNDAY.

  • anthrosciguy

    When I was growing up, many of the pastors in northern Arkansas would get a new Buick or Caddie, the biggest ones with all the options, every year, and they’d sell it cheap to one of their friends when they got their new one the next year. People didn’t make all that much money back then, but their pastors lived large.

  • PJB863

    Mark O’Leary is right. My great uncle was a diocesan priest. Our family was hardly wealthy, but somehow, some way, old “Uncle Frank” always managed to drive a nice car and live comfortably.

    Later on, it turned out that ONLY Uncle Frank was allowed to count up the collection proceeds. If the Diocese sent out priests to help out at mass, they were never allowed to count the proceeds.

    After Uncle Frank died, a great-nephew of his (not me – this was a pious great-nephew) found $300,000 in cash in an altar that Uncle Frank had built in his basement (priests must say mass daily, even after retirement). Imagine the family’s surprise when the 19 year old pious great-nephew suddenly started driving a BMW while working as a bus boy!

  • CommonSense

    A religious friend of mine complaints every month when they have the “Pastor Appreciated Day”. Means, give the dude 20 bucks more in the till. He mentioned the “savior” also rides in a Cadillac. The church women apparently consider him well to do, and a course “Blessed”. But, wait, he gives 20 the wife gives 20,there are about 150 suckers giving money. But, I’m sure it’s all recorded as income for the taxes. Then if there is a birthday or holiday season, reach deeper into those pockets. He most likely needs the money for inspiration or new tires before his road trip to Disney World…

  • ThilinaB

    wow… that was an epic read (actually read it over 3 days). And the part Hemanth quoted up there, seemed almost irrelevant to the whole message of the article. But thank you so much for sharing that.

  • Dylan

    I’m wanting to find  an atheist community in London Ontario