Humble pope downsizes to Renault
12 September 2013, 15:12
Vatican - Italy - Pope Francis now has his own mini-popemobile after getting a good deal on a used car he plans to drive himself.
Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini said Francis accepted the 1984 Renault 4, donated by a priest in northern Italy who used it to visit poor parishioners. It's a far cry from the armoured vehicles in which his predecessors travelled - though they, of course, were for use outside the confines of the papal city.
'INTENDS TO DRIVE'
The four-door car, in papal white, has a manual gearbox but, he added, a new engine.
"The pope intends to drive it."
The donor, 79-year-old Reverend Renzo Zocca, says he took Francis for a short drive in the car at the Vatican on Saturday and that Francis told him he knew how to drive it. He believed Francis would use it only in the grounds of the Vatican.
Zocca told AP that he had dedicated his life to helping the needy on the outskirts of the Italian city of Verona while using the car to visit them in the Renault - what he called "the car of the French farmer".
The pontiff invited Zocca for a private audience and on that occasion the priest had the car brought to the Vatican.