THURSDAY
March 15, 2001
volume 12, no. 74

BMW Presents New Vehicle to Pope



    VATICAN, Mar. 14, 01 (CWNews.com) -- The German auto manufacturer BMW presented Pope John Paul II with a new car today, at the conclusion of the regular weekly papal audience. BMW also donated three motorcycles for use by Vatican employees.

    The black sedan was waiting for the Pope outside the Paul VI auditorium after he addressed pilgrims there. The color contrasted with that of the motorcycles, which are yellow and white-- the colors of the Holy See.

    The first papal automobile arrived at the Vatican in 1909, but some years passed before a pope actually used a car. Pope Pius XII received and used several different sorts of autos: a Bianchi, a Fiat, a Graham-Paige, a Citroen, and finally a Mercedes-Benz. It was in the Mercedes that he travels to comfort the victims of bombing raids in Italy in 1943.

    After the death of Pope John XXIII, subsequent pontiffs have favored an open Toyota Land Cruiser, which allows the Pope to be seen as he travels through crowds. Pope John Paul II was riding in such a vehicle 1981 when he was hit with a would-be assassin's bullets. Today's "Popemobile" is designed to provide some security for the occupant, but still leave the Pope visible.


March 15, 2001
volume 12, no. 74
News from ROME
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