Priest gives used car to pope, who wants to drive

September 11, 2013
In this Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 picture made available by the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, right, speaks with Rev. Renzo Zocca, second from right, and owner of the Renault 4L seen at left, his assistant Luigi Macchioni, and car-body repairer Stefano Veronesi, fourth from right, after he was donated the car by Zocca, at the Vatican. Rev. Zocca, 70, told the Associated Press Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, that he has dedicated his life to helping the needy in the peripheries of Verona, so when he saw that Pope Francis' priority was to reach out to the world's poor and inspire the Catholic leaders to go to slums and peripheries to preach, he decided to donate what he calls his 25-year-old "car of the French farmers" as a symbol of this approach. The pontiff invited Rev. Zocca for a private audience and on that occasion the priest had the car brought to the Vatican. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis now has his own mini popemobile after getting a good deal on a used car that he plans to drive himself.

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 69-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.