VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis already got a mini-pope mobile, a used 1984 Renault donated by Reverend Renzo Zocco, that he plans to drive by himself.
The pontiff plans to use the 25-year old Renault, shunning Pope Benedict’s BMWs and Mercedes cars, in driving around Vatican City.
The four-door car that has a manual shift and has been fitted with a new 800 cc. 30-horse power engine served as gift to the pope by Zocco, a northern Italian priest who used the car to visit the poor parishioners in Verona.
Earlier this year, Francis called the 70-year-old priest Zocco on his cell phone after receiving a fan mail, showing his support and offering up his car.
Initially, the leader of the world’s billion Catholics was hesitant to receive the car as he thinks that giving it to the poor is a better idea. However, Zocco guaranteed to the pope that the gift served as a testimony to his efforts in Verona and assured that he already got a replacement for the car.
Zocco together with approximately 100 parishioners from the church of Santa Lucia di Pescantina headed for Rome with the car on a tow truck and went straight to the Vatican on Saturday.
According to Zocco, Pope Francis decided to take the car for a spin around the Vatican, thus, he drove the car while the pope sat on the passenger seat.
Moreover, the priest said that the pope told him that he already has an idea how to drive it as driving manual is not a problem for him.
“The security personnel next to me were very concerned because they understood that from now on he would be tooling around the Vatican in my car,” Zocca said.
The image of the car is a representation of humility that the pope wants the people to see and practice. On July, he encouraged Catholic priests and nuns to avoid expensive limousines and cars.
“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,” the pope said.
Faye Michelle Regis
ABCom, Leyte Normal University