Pope Francis is raising money for the poor by raffling off personal items, including a Fiat as the first prize. Raffle tickets are selling for 10 euros at the Vatican post office or the Vatican Museum exclusively until Thursday, when the winning numbers will be drawn, according to Reuters.
The pontiff is giving away 13 items he has received since his 2013 election, which include an unused four-wheel-drive Fiat Panda, a leather suitcase, a Homero Ortega Panama-style hat, an espresso coffee machine, watches, bicycles and 30 other unspecified “consolation prizes.” The winning numbers will be announced Jan. 8 on the Vatican website. The raffle, which is closed to the media, will raise money for the Catholic Church’s global efforts to fight poverty, according to ABC News.
Francis’ concern for the impoverished has become a cornerstone of his papacy. He gave 400 sleeping bags to homeless people in Rome on his 78th birthday in December and reportedly leaves the Vatican at night to minister the homeless, according to the Huffington Post. In November, Francis ordered showers to be installed around the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square for the homeless to use, according to Reuters.
Francis is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, with an estimated 1.2 billion members worldwide. He has strayed from Vatican tradition since he succeeded Pope Benedict XVI in March 2013, in an effort to sweep up scandal and change the Church’s image. Francis named 15 new cardinals this week, mostly from developing countries like Tonga, Myanmar and Cape Verde. The pontiff criticized the Vatican bureaucracy in his annual Christmas address Dec. 22 for egotistic “pathology of power” and “existential schizophrenia.” Time magazine and the Advocate, a gay publication, both named Pope Francis the 2013 Person of the Year for his stark shift in rhetoric on issues such as homosexuality, abortion and divorce, which the Roman Catholic Church has long stood against.