Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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If the Bible itself teaches us not to live luxurious lives filled with earthly materials, why do our own religious leaders such as priests have some of the most expensive houses furnished with the most expensive imported furniture? I understand that they sacrifice almost everything in their lives for their service, but their luxurious lifestyles go against all of the modesty that they preach to the congregation. Examples: why buy a house with the most expensive property tax, why furnish your house with all imported (Italian) furniture, why drive Cadillacs and Lexuses? Why not help at least the impoverished of their congregation, if not the impoverished of their community, as Jesus taught us? It seems hypocritical not to practice what you preach. We, as youth, begin viewing the priesthood as a well-paying job rather than a humbling service to the Lord. I understand that neither a bishop nor the Pope would set price ranges for these issues, and that’s not what I seek. What I seek is why this feeling of modesty does not come from within?

I believe your question is well intended, but there is really no way to provide you with a fair response. Each priest would have to answer for himself. Priests in our church do not take a vow of poverty. Many of them are well-educated and have resources of their own from before their ordinations. Unlike monks, they are not required to give everything up in order to pursue their religious goals. If priests have refined taste, which is expressed in their homes, cars, clothing (re: family members), etc., this is not in itself necessarily a sin. The priest and his family are members of their communities. There is no specification stating that they need to live beneath the standards of their fellow congregants. Priests also need to provide a decent home for their families, health care, education, and other ordinary family matters. Possessing some material assets does not have to equal love for money or the lack of humility. Therefore, we should not and cannot judge priests nor anyone else based on the outward appearance. It is best to let God be the judge.
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