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Pope Francis encourages Catholics to 'choose a more humble' car

If you want a 'fancy' car, 'think about how many children are dying of hunger,' Pope says.

By Douglas Newcomb Jul 10, 2013 1:39PM

 Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche presents Pope Francis with keys to popemobile. Photo by Daimler.Only a few months after being named head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is already making his mark by eschewing traditional papal trappings. he has chosen to live in a Vatican guest house rather than the luxurious apartments occupied by his predecessors. And now he’s encouraging the clergy and his millions of followers to avoid driving ostentatious luxury cars.

“It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can't do this,” Pope Francis recently said, according to Reuters. “A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”

This may sound a bit disingenuous coming from someone who recently received the keys to the new Mercedes-Benz "popemobile” from Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche (pictured above). But Pope Francis also received a less ostentatious and more environmentally friendly Smart eBike from Zetsche.

The latest popemobile is a Mercedes-Benz M-Class outfitted with a high-security glass bubble that allows the pope to see and be seen when he cruises among crowds of admirers without compromising his safety. It replaced a modified G-Class that has been in the Vatican fleet since 2002.

Zetsche and the pope also discussed Daimler's goal to make the company’s vehicles more environmentally friendly by investing 10.8 billion euros in “green” research and development, according to Mercedes-Benz.

Zetsche also detailed Daimler’s funding of projects in social science, education and art as well as the company’s charitable efforts. In 2012, the Daimler donated 58 million euros ($74.7 million) to nonprofit institutions and social projects around the globe, Zetsche said.

Even though Pope Francis is encouraging his flock to shun showy luxury cars, the Vatican’s relationship with Mercedes-Benz vehicles -- which stretches back to 1930 with a Nürburg 460 Pullman saloon for Pope Pius XI -- isn’t likely to change. We can't see him riding in crowds on his new eBike, and a popemobile Toyota Prius probably isn’t in the immediate future.

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche presents Pope Francis with eBike. Photo by Daimler.[Sources: Autoblog, Mercedes-Benz, Reuters]

Jul 11, 2013 6:40AM

Please recall he frequently used the city bus to commute before he became Pope.


He is on the same page as one of our pastors who had the courage to recommend to our congreagation to consider their transportation choice in terms of how it affected the environment, did they really need a large luxury car, etc. On the day he gave that homily our church parking lot was filled with expensive SUV's. And he walked - or drove-trhe talk-a Prius.

Jul 11, 2013 7:00AM

It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can't do this,” Pope Francis recently said, . “A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”


Can anyone here read? He was not talking about us. He was talking about the cars of priests and nuns. Geez


PS I am not a Catholic but I think he is actually trying to make changes in the church.

Jul 11, 2013 7:06AM
I think this story highlights how the Pope is making efforts to show what the Church is about: Mission of helping others. He is changing many of the negative aspects of the Church, and will continue to do so. We would all do well to remember that change happens slowly. Many commenters take the car the Pope rides in as a sign and symbol of all the corruption that surrounds the Church. Sadly, those same commenters are not aware that the Church is one of the biggest charities in our world. Catholic Charities and Relief Services help millions around the world, and provide services that range from education to medical support. There is so much good that the Church is doing, but its sad when people choose to focus on the negative. 
Jul 11, 2013 7:11AM
To those who comment about the Pope's car, they are clearly unaware it is for his safety. It is specially designed and donated to the Vatican. Anyone remembers the religious assassination attemp to John Paul II in the 80s?
Jul 11, 2013 7:27AM
Jul 11, 2013 6:56AM
The Pope made a very good point. All those SUVs on the streets are only the expression of vanity and arrogance. They are not either sport or utility, they are just monstruosities.
I drive a 2001 Hyundai Sonata and teach Chess to Children for free.
Jul 11, 2013 7:20AM
What about those hungry children?
 Why don't these religious do gooders tell their followers to stop making hungry children for the rest of us to feed.
The world is totally over populated.

Jul 11, 2013 7:41AM
I think my car is more humble than that bicycle.
Jul 11, 2013 7:22AM

This is good advice, from anyone to everyone.


Driving an expensive car is a demonstration of greed & vanity, traits condoned by just about any brand of religion you to subscribe to. The only good wealthy people are the "millionaires next door" because you would never guess they are millionaires. Not a Cadillac, McMansion, or Chanel purse in sight.


I was raised Catholic, and the faith has a lot of problems. I do wish we would reverse the stance on birth control. Our planet is overcrowded and depleting norenewable resources at an accelerating pace. I hold anyone who is fertile but chooses to adopt in high regard. 


It is also shameful & selfish if you drive gas guzzler (or a "soldier killer", in my opinion; our young die in wars for oil). The only thing that can justify a gas guzzler is a person in every seat belt, for every trip made.


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