VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is forgoing the bulletproof popemobile for his upcoming trip to Brazil for the Catholic Church’s youth festival, further evidence that he has no qualms about tweaking the Vatican’s security operations for the sake of getting closer to the faithful.
The Vatican said today that the Argentine pope will use the same open-topped car he uses for zooming around St. Peter’s Square to move about Rio de Janeiro, where he arrives Monday for the weeklong World Youth Day fest. He’ll use a closed car for longer-distance drives, but the open-topped car for milling about the crowds.
In recent times, popes have always used the protected popemobile for forays outside Rome. Francis, however, ended that tradition when he used an open-topped Fiat during his recent visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa.