Francis Ditches Popemobile: ‘At My Age I Don’t Have Much To Lose’

Pope Francis
Pope Francis Reuters

The unconventional pope strikes again.

Pope Francis doesn’t have any intention of using that old, confining Popemobile, he told a Spanish newspaper. Even though there are risks for one of the most prominent people on Earth going about without the protection of the bulletproof vehicle, the pope told Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia he refuses to use the glass “sardine can” because it cuts him off from people.

"It's true that anything could happen, but let's face it, at my age [77] I don't have much to lose," he said, as quoted by CNN. "I know that something could happen to me, but it's in the hands of God."

It’s been customary for the head of the Roman Catholic Church to use Popemobile when in public ever since the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Mehmet Ali Agca shot John Paul II in the abdomen, arm and hand when he was driven through St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. Though his injuries were grave, the pontiff recovered after undergoing major surgery. When he healed he met Agca in prison and forgave him.

The would-be assassin never fully explained why he tried to kill the pope. He was pardoned in 2000 after nearly 20 years behind bars and then deported back to Turkey.

In April, John Paul II was canonized, along with Pope John XXIII.

Pope Francis has developed a reputation for unpredictability. When he was in Brazil he chose to be transported from the airport in a Fiat. Not long into his trip, the vehicle became immobilized between another vehicle and crowds who wanted to touch the pope. His security was stepped up after that incident.

But that’s just one occurrence. Pope Francis has also been rumored to sneak out of the Vatican at night and donate time to charitable pursuits.

Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella

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