Pope Francis Gets a Used Car

The down-to-earth Catholic leader will drive the 1984 Renault around Vatican City

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AFP / Getty Images

This handout picture released by the Vatican Press Office on September 10, 2013 shows Father Don Renzo Zocca (2ndR) offering his white Renault 4L to Pope Francis during a meeting on September 7, 2013 at the Vatican.

Pope Francis continues to shatter perceptions of a detached leader presiding over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Adding to a growing list of moves casting him as a Pope of the people, the Pontiff’s choice to drive a used car underscores his humility at the helm.

Rev. Renzo Zocca, a 69-year old priest from northern Italy donated a vintage 1984 Renault 4 to Pope Francis this week, according to Vatican spokesman Rev. Ciro Benedettini. Pope Francis intends to use the four-door, manual-shift car to whip around Vatican grounds.

(MORE: Pope Francis Leads Global Prayer Vigil for Syria)

News of his modest automobile selection comes on the heels of a recent report that the Holy See earned the nickname, “the Cold Call Pope,” after spending the summer calling letter writers around the world. As the New York Times reported, the papal leader spontaneously phones people offering guidance and support.

Last month Pope Francis made viral waves after snapping a picture with a group of teenagers visiting the Vatican. Rather than formally posing, the Pontiff used the popular “selfie” style photo, which quickly set social media abuzz after one of the teens posted it to Facebook.

His recent demeanor among ordinary people has distinguished Francis from his predecessor, who espoused a more formal demeanor.

Be on the lookout when visiting the Vatican, as spotting the car is pretty easy — it’s papal white.

MORE: A Pope for the Poor

(h/t AP)

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