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