Pope Francis New Ride: 1984 Renault With 186K Miles Is Gift From Priest

Image: Pope Francis New Ride: 1984 Renault With 186K Miles Is Gift From Priest

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 01:31 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Pope Francis has added a classic 1984 Renault with 186,000 miles on it to his automobile fleet. His new ride is a gift from a 69-year-old Italian priest.

The nearly 30-year-old vehicle, a silver-white four-door, was presented to the pontiff during a meeting, according to Catholic News Service.

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Father Renzo Zocca said he wrote the pope a letter asking for a meeting so he could donate his car and tell him about his ministry, which involved living and working for quarter of a century in a poor, working-class neighborhood in Verona. Zocca had used the car for decades.

Francis told Zocca to give the vehicle to the needy during an Aug. 10 phone call.

"I answered that this car had already given much to the poor and now it had to go to the pope," Zocca said.

Francis decided to accept the gift, driving off in the car, which likely didn't please his security team.

"I watched him drive off in that car as if it were the most normal thing in the world," Zocca told the Catholic News Service. "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."

The car was presented to the pontiff on Saturday, before the Sept. 7 prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square for peace. It was given a tune-up. Also, the spark plugs were cleaned, and the tires were filled with air.

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. He succeeded Pope Benedict XVI in March.

A little more than a year ago, Pope Benedict XVI received his first electric car, a customized white Renault Kangoo.

Benedict had been dubbed the "green pope" for his concerns about the environment. Earlier in 2012, Italian carmaker NWG gave an electric car to the Vatican press office.

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