Pope Francis continues to surprise in his ongoing effort to practice what he preaches. To inspire austerity in the Church, the pope has encouraged Catholic priests and nuns to avoid expensive cars and limousines.
"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," Francis said in a press statement.
And he’s walking the walk — or driving the car as the case may be. Earlier this year Rev. Renzo Zocco from Verona offered the pope his car, a 1984 white Renault 4. Francis told Zocco that he was hesitant to take the vehicle at first, thinking it should be given to the poor. But then he changed his mind and accepted the gift instead.
Zocco told Francis that the vehicle would "serve as a testimony" to the effort and hard work the priest has done in Verona, reports Famiglia Cristiana. He said that he was touched by the pope's effort to create "a Church for the poor" and said that he wanted to give him a gift.
"What better than my old Renault 4?" he asked.
Although the car has 190,000 miles on it, it has been equipped with a new 800 cc. 30-hp engine. And apparently the pope knows his way around a standard transmission, as he demonstrated when he took the keys from Zocco and zipped off, leaving his bodyguards in shock.
"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. "I left some snow chains in the trunk. You never know."
The "Today" show reports on the new-old popemobile in the video below:
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