13 Sep 2013

Car given to pope at Vatican

7:58 am on 13 September 2013

Pope Francis now has his own car in the Vatican. The 1984 Renault 4 economy car with 300,000km on the clock was given to him by a priest from northern Italy, Father Renzo Zocca, 70, who took the pope for a spin inside the walls of the city.

"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, Fasther 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 took it last weekend to the Vatican, where the pope told him he knew how to drive it because he had a Renault 4 in Argentina.

The pope, 76, then got in and drove it, Father Zocca told the Famiglia Cristiana (Christian Family) magazine.