Bucking tradition, Pope Francis could soon be seen tooling around the Vatican in a vintage Renault 4.
The vehicle, still in working condition despite clocking 190,000 miles, was given to the new leader of the Catholic Church by Fr. Renzo Zocca, an elderly priest from the northern Italian city of Verona.
The car was used by Zocca to minister to a hardscrabble, working-class community, according to Vatican Insider. Indeed, it was the car's legacy of working with the poor that inspired Zocca to hand the keys over to the famously populist Pope Francis.
Earlier in August, Zocca wrote to Francis, asking if he could give him a gift, according to Vatican Insider. Zocca was shocked when Francis called him up. At first reluctant, Francis eventually agreed to take the car, which was delivered on Saturday.
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Before driving off, Francis told Zocca that he had once owned a similar car, according to the Agence France-Presse.
"The security guard standing next to me was really worried because he knew that from now on he'll be going around the Vatican in my car," Zocca said, according to the AFP.
While stylish in its own way, the Renault's recycled status fits with the pope's earlier statements regarding humility and frugality.
Although Francis' predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, was often transported in luxury cars including a BMW X5 and a Mercedes, Francis chose a modest Ford Focus to travel to the Holy See summer home in July.
“It hurts me when I see a priest or nun with the latest-model car," Francis said at the time. "You can’t do this. 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."
UPDATE: Some outlets are reporting that the pope's secondhand cruiser is only 20 years old, but Aol Autos (which, like The Huffington Post, is owned by Aol) says this Renault 4 is a 1984 model.
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