News / Europe

Pope Francis to Drive Own 'Popemobile' Inside Vatican City

This handout picture released by the Vatican Press Office shows Father Don Renzo Zocca (2ndR) offering his white Renault 4L to Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013. (AFP photo/Osservatore Romano)
This handout picture released by the Vatican Press Office shows Father Don Renzo Zocca (2ndR) offering his white Renault 4L to Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013. (AFP photo/Osservatore Romano)
Reuters
Pope Francis plans to drive around Vatican City at the wheel of a “popemobile” that is a lot like him: frugal, clad in white, and with a fair bit of mileage.
 
The 1984 Renault 4 economy car with 300,000 km (186,000 miles) on the clock was given to him by a 70-year-old priest from northern Italy, Father Renzo Zocca, who took the pope for a spin inside the walls of the tiny city-state.
 
“I think the pope will drive it a bit himself inside the Vatican,” the Holy See's deputy spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini, said on Thursday.
 
After the pope appealed to priests several months ago not to drive expensive cars but to save money and give it to the poor, Zocca wrote him a letter saying he had used the same car for decades and wanted to give it to the pope as a symbolic gift.
 
He brought it last weekend, along with some of his parishioners, to the Vatican, where the pope told him he knew how to drive it because he had had a Renault 4 in Argentina.
 
The pope, 76, then got in and drove it, Zocca told the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana.
 
Francis, who, as a cardinal in Buenos Aires, traveled by subway, has shown a predilection for simple means of transport even after his election in March as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years.
 
On the night of his election, he shunned the bulletproof  papal Mercedes limousine and rode in a minibus with the cardinals who had chosen him to lead the Roman Catholic church.
 
During his trip to Brazil in July he was driven around Rio de Janeiro in a small silver Fiat at his own request, and when he visited a refugee center in Rome on Tuesday, he used a Ford Focus from the Vatican's car pool.
 
Francis has shunned the spacious and luxurious papal apartments used by his predecessors and has opted to live in a small suite in a Vatican guesthouse.
 
And while Francis will likely never need them in Rome, which is hit by serious snow only about once every 25 years, Zocca's snow tires are still in the trunk.
 
“You never know,” he told Famiglia Cristiana.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid