A couple of months ago I teased Pope Francis engaging in a “war on the Vatican’s luxury cars” while driving one of the greatest luxury cars of all time — the Popemobile. Although he probably won’t be able to give up his 160 mph, armor-plated, bullet-proof sedia gestatoria anytime soon, he’s make a bold, symbolic point with the latest addition to his fleet: a 1984 Renault 4.
Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, says Francis accepted the 1984 Renault 4, donated for free by a priest in northern Italy who used it to visit poor parishioners. The four-door car, in papal white, is manual shift and has a new engine. Benedettini told The AP on Wednesday: “The pope intends to drive it.”
The donor, the 79-year-old Rev. Renzo Zocca, says he took Francis for a short drive in the car at the Vatican on Saturday and that Francis told him he knows how to drive it.
Zocca said he thinks Francis will use it for short commutes on Vatican grounds.
Imagine how uncomfortable it must make some of the cardinals to park their new BMWs and Mercedes in the Vatican parking lot next to the thirty-year-old Renault with the license plate “SCV 2.”
Well played, Francis. Well played.