Pope Francis Rejects 'Sardine Can' Popemobile

Saturday, 14 Jun 2014 11:43 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Image: Pope Francis Rejects 'Sardine Can' Popemobile
Pope Francis greets the crowd from an open vehicle during his general audience at St Peter's square on June 11, 2014 at the Vatican. (Getty Images)

Pope Francis says he's trusting God, not a bulletproof vehicle to determine his fate.

"It's true that anything could happen, but let's face it, at my age I don't have much to lose," the 77-year-old pontiff told La Vanguardia of Barcelona in an interview published Friday. "I know that something could happen to me, but it's in the hands of God."

Francis referred to the popemobile as a glass "sardine can" that walls him off from contact with people, and he doesn't like it, as he believes being able to speak with people directly is central to his role as the pope.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Popes have ridden in glass-sided vehicles since 1981, following an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, reports CNN.

But Francis has often picked transportation more to his liking, creating a security nightmare for the officers tasked with keeping him safe.

During his trip to Brazil, Francis rode in a Fiat hatchback from the airport to downtown Rio de Janeiro, and the vehicle got trapped between a bus and well-wishers trying to reach into the car to touch him, prompting further security measures to protect him. He also often uses an open vehicle to tour crowds of the faithful who crowd in to St. Peter's Square.

While Francis has ruled out the popemobile, he told La Vanguardia that he has not ruled out in following the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped aside from the papacy to become the first Pope Emeritus.

Historically, Popes do not retire as Benedict did, but are replaced upon their deaths.

Francis said Benedict's retirement because of his advanced age and fragility was a "grand gesture," and he may do the same when the time comes.

"As we live longer, we get to an age at which we cannot carry on with things," Francis said. "I will do the same as he did: ask the Lord enlighten me when the moment comes and tell me what I have to do, and he will tell me for sure."

The pope says he hasn't really thought about his own legacy, reports Vatican Radio.

"I like it when you recall someone and say 'he was a good guy, he did what he could, and he was not that bad.' With that, I would be content," Francis said.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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