Pope Francis said on Saturday it pained him to see priests driving flashy cars, and told them to pick something more “humble.”
As part of his drive to make the Catholic Church more austere and focus on the poor, Francis told young and trainee priests and nuns from around the world that having the latest smartphone or fashion accessory was not the route to happiness.
“It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can’t do this,” he said.
“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,” he said.
Since succeeding Pope Benedict in March, the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has eschewed some of the more ostentatious trappings of his office and has chosen to live in a Vatican guest house rather than the opulent papal apartments.
The ANSA news agency said the pope’s car of choice for moving around the walled Vatican City was a compact Ford Focus.
For public appearances, however, he drives the iconic Popemobile, a specially built armoured Mercedes-Benz.
Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche travelled to Rome recently to personally greet Pope Francis and hand over the keys to the Pontiff’s new Popemobile, a modified Mercedes-Benz M Class. The vehicle will first go into action later this month when he makes an official visit to Brazil.
The latest Popemobile follows a long line of Mercedes-Benz cars used by the leaders of the Catholic Church over the past 80 years.
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