‘I don’t have much to lose:’ Pope Francis shuns armored vehicle

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he rides in his Popemobile after the canonisation ceremony of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in St Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Pope Francis has announced he will no longer use his custom-built high security vehicle - popularly known as the “Popemobile” - for public appearances, saying that he does not have “much to lose” at his age, the UK-based newspaper Daily Mail reported Sunday.

“It is true that anything could happen, but let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose,” the Catholic Church’s 77-year-old leader said in an interview with a Spanish newspaper.

The Popemobile were introduced after the 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II, when a Turkish gunman opened fire in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was struck four times in the attempt.

Although the armoured vehicle is used in a bid to prevent further attacks on the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis told the newspaper he is unable to interact effectively with crowds as a “sardine can” that keeps him away from the people.

When asked about his legacy, the pope said “he would be content” if people recall someone saying “he was a good guy, he did what he could, and he was not that bad.”

According to the newspaper, he was diplomatic when questioned on which country he supported in the World Cup, claiming he will be neutral during the competition.

Pope Francis has regularly rejected his armored security vehicle and used ordinary cars during several high profile visits.

In the spotlight

And as the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, he is often in the global media spotlight.

At a public meeting in Jerusalem in May, Pope Francis and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had what media outlets described as brief sparring session over the language spoken by Jesus two millennia ago.

Netanyahu said “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,” while the pope interjected saying “Aramaic.”

And in March, the Argentinian-born pontiff generated hundreds of comments from internet users after he mistakenly used the Italian word “cazzo” – which means “f***,” instead of the word “caso,” meaning “example” during a weekly Vatican address.

After the incident, some claimed that it made him seem more like a “man of the people.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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