The Vatican has said that Pope Francis will not use bullet-proof popemobiles on his visit to Brazil next week as he wishes to have more direct contact with the crowds, despite the security risks involved.
The Argentine Pope arrives in Brazil on Monday for his first trip outside of Italy as the Pope. He will use the same open-top jeeps that he has preferred to use during his general audiences in St Peter’s Square as these allow him to reach out to touch people.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told a news briefing: “He feels that for him, communicating directly with the people is better that way”
“He decided to do it this way because it is a continuity with the way he does it here [in Italy].”
The Vatican has a fleet of bullet-proof, glass topped, air-conditioned vehicles for use by popes when travelling outside of Rome.
These vehicles were introduced after Pope John Paul II was nearly killed on MAy 13,1981 when Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca shot him while he was riding in an open jeep in St Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis will spend a week in Rio de Janeiro to preside over the Catholic Church’s World Day of Youth, he will also visit the poor in a favela and meet young prisoners.
- Francis to shun Pope-mobile for open-air Rio tour (telegraph.co.uk)
- Pope ditches bullet-proof car in Brazil (bigpondnews.com)