He did it again! Pope Francis has broken again with protocol after inviting an old friend, Father Fabian Baez, to join him on his Popemobile at the Vatican.
Father Fabian Baez was among well-wishers and pilgrims in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday as part of Pope Francis’ first general audience of the year.
Pope Francis invited Father Fabian Baez to join him on his Popemobile at the Vatican
Pope Francis told security guards to fetch his friend at which point Father Fabian Baez ran to embrace the pope before joining him in the open-top vehicle.
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Pope Francis is visiting the tiny island of Lampedusa, where instead of tooling around in the popemobile, he’s making his rounds in a borrowed 20-year-old Fiat Campagnola.
The pontiff also has let it be known how he feels about priests and nuns who drive fancy cars: It pains him. That has to be a kick in the pants for Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes-Benz, who just last week personally handed the pope the keys to a new Mercedes popemobile.
Pope Francis is visiting the tiny island of Lampedusa, where instead of tooling around in the popemobile, he’s making his rounds in a borrowed 20-year-old Fiat Campagnola
Last Saturday, Pope Francis told a group of priests and nuns that cars “are necessary. But take a more humble one.” The pontiff said it “hurts” him when he sees a priest or nun in the “latest model car; you can’t do this.” He told his audience to drive a cheaper car and pass the savings on to feed starving children.
Mercedes has provided a number of popemobiles over the years, starting in 1930 with a Nurburg 460 pullman saloon for Pope Pius XI, according to the carmaker.
In a news release following his visit with Pope Francis, Dieter Zetsche said that “by providing the popemobile, we will continue to accompany” Pope Francis on “his travels in the future,” adding that the tradition was “a huge source of pride to us.”
Mercedes also provided for Pope Benedict XVI a popemobile in 2011 that had a built-in oxygen supply behind the bullet-proof plexiglas, a white leather seat with gold trim that was raised into place by a hydraulic lift and armor-plated side panels and undercarriage to withstand bomb blasts. According to the Telegraph, the cost was about $450,000.
But Pope Francis has deliberately shunned high-cost living in a Vatican guest house rather than the papal palace, for instance. Now, after his auto-buying advice for priests and nuns, he’s riding around in an old, borrowed Fiat for his first overseas mission as pontiff.
Pope Francis offered Down Syndrome teenage Alberto di Tullio a very rare privilege during his general audience last week – a personal tour of the “Popemobile”.
Pope Francis offered Down Syndrome teenage Alberto di Tullio a very rare privilege during his general audience
The pontiff invited Alberto di Tullio, 17, up onto his open-top Mercedes at the end of his general audience on Wednesday while tens of thousands of people looked on.
The boy’s father, Celestino di Tullio, told reporters how he choked up when Pope Francis approached his son. He said the Pope saw him and embraced him. When the boy pointed to the car, Pope Francis invited him up.
Footage shows Pope Francis and Alberto di Tullio chatting on the open-deck of the “Popemobile” before the teenager had a go in the pope’s white swivel chair.
Hundreds of thousands of worshippers have attended a seafront Mass in Beirut on the concluding day of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon.
Pope Benedict XVI appealed for leaders in the Middle East to work for peace and reconciliation and urged those at the service to “be peacemakers”.
The pontiff also renewed his call for a end to the violence in Syria.
He later left Lebanon, after a ceremony at Beirut airport attended by flag-waving crowds.
The visit came amid anti-US protests in the region over a film deemed insulting to Islam.
It was the first papal trip to Lebanon since John Paul II went there in 1997.
An estimated 350,000 worshippers gathered for the waterfront Mass earlier on Sunday. They waved flags and cheered as the Pope made his way through the crowd in his bullet-proof popemobile.
During the service, the Pope urged Christians throughout the Middle East to do their part to end “the grim trail of death and destruction” in the region.
Hundreds of thousands of worshippers have attended a seafront Mass in Beirut on the concluding day of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon
Calling again for peace in Syria, he said: “I appeal to the Arab countries, that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person.”
Christians from around Lebanon, as well as Syria, Iraq and further afield, travelled to see him speak in what must have been a very thrilling day.
On Saturday, the pontiff met Lebanese political leaders at the presidential palace near Beirut.
Lebanon’s politicians are bitterly divided over the conflict in neighboring Syria, but the Pope met leaders from across the spectrum, including the Shia Muslim movement Hezbollah.
Addressing an audience of government officials, foreign diplomats and religious leaders, he called for the “fundamental right” of religious freedom to be observed.
Earlier in his visit, the Pope condemned religious fundamentalism and called on all religious leaders in the Middle East “to do everything possible to uproot this threat”.
Controversy over a film deemed to be offensive to the Prophet Mohammed has provoked protests throughout the region since the Pope’s arrival in Lebanon.
The film, Innocence of Muslims, is believed to have been made by a Coptic Christian in the US, and related unrest has led to the death of, among others, the US ambassador to Libya.
The Pope also addressed a gathering of thousands of young people on Saturday, and urged them to stay in Lebanon “and take your place in society and in the Church”.
The number of Christians in the region has been greatly reduced in recent years due to political upheaval and economic pressures.