A recent article on the BBC UK news site really made me smile. Father Zocca, an Italian priest, has given his own 20-year old Renault 4 car to the pope! This gesture was apparently inspired by Pope Francis' humble lifestyle, and message of simplicity and humility.
Apparently the new pope has a desire to create a "church for the poor", and is encouraging austerity within the Catholic Church. One example is his suggestion that church officials forego luxury cars and limousines in favour of more understated vehicles for transportation.
This is an example of a Renault 4 that I photographed this summer
Transportation doesn't get more basic than with a Renault 4, the French-makers small utilitarian people and cargo mover that was built from 1961 right up until 1992. With over 8 million sold over 30 years, the Renault 4 is still a very common site in Europe, and can truly be considered one of the 'people's cars' of France.
Apparently the pope was touched by the gift, and it has been reported that he used to drive himself around in Argentina in his own Renault 4, before arriving at the Vatican. The security guards were left amazed and surprised when he drove off in his new car last Saturday. I can only imagine the look on their faces as the 76-year old head of the Catholic Church climbed into a 20+ year old Renault with 300,000 kms on the odometer, fired it up, and took off into the streets! Good for Pope Francis! A car fan is a car fan, no matter their age or position or wealth (or lack thereof).
And I may not be Catholic, but I get a kick out of having something in common with the pope... a love of cars like the Renault 4! I was trying to decide what I want as a future project car... if the 4 is good enough for the Pope, it's good enough for me!