Pope Francis ditches the Popemobile which has protected pontiffs since 1981 | Mail Online

By Darren Boyle

Published: 13:34 EST, 14 June 2014 | Updated: 08:22 EST, 15 June 2014




Pope Francis has announced he will no longer used a bullet-proof Popemobile as the glass 'sardine can' keeps him away from the people.

The armoured vehicles were introduced after the 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II in a bid to prevent further attacks on the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

During the interview with a Spanish newspaper which was reported by Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said: 'It is true that anything could happen, but let's face it, at my age I don't have much to lose.'

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Pope Francis said he no longer wants to use a bullet-proof Popemobile as it is a 'sardine can' which keeps him away from the people, claiming that 'at my age I don't have much to lose'

He continued: 'I know that something could happen to me, but it's in the hands of God.'

The Argentinian pontiff was more diplomatic when questioned on the World Cup claiming he will be neutral when it comes to who he will support during the competition.


When asked about his legacy, Pope Francis said: 'I have not thought about this. But I like it when you recall someone and say "he was a good guy, he did what he could, and he was not that bad." With that, I would be content.'


Pope Francis meets members of the public at weekly audience

Pope Francis has told his security officials he wants to be able to interact with crowds when he is out in public and cannot do so effectively behind a screen of bullet proof glass

Already during several high profile visits Pope Francis has rejected his custom-built high security vehicle and used ordinary cars.

On a visit to Brazil, Pope Francis used a small Fiat from the airport to the centre of Rio which caused problems for security officials.

While on  his high profile trip to the Middle East, Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to an Israeli security wall in the West Bank where he paused to prayer in a highly symbolic but controversial gesture.

The specially designed Popemobiles were introduced after Pope John Paul II was hit several times when Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca opened fire in St Peter's Square in May 1981.

The Pontiff has established a regular routine of hugging children as he arrives for his weekly general audience at the Vatican despite this being the location where Pope John Paul II was shot


Pope Pius X refused to use the first car which arrived at the Vatican in 1909 which was a gift from the archbishop of New York.

Since the 1930s, many Popes have used various types of Mercedes with the special number plate SCV 1.

However, it wasn't until Pope John Paul II that the Popemobile became internationally recognised due to the level of international travel he took. 

During his 1982 visit to Britain, Pope John Paul II had a highly modified Leyland truck to transport him. It weighed 24 tonnes and was able to survive small-arms fire. 

Pope Benedict used a highly modified armoured Mercedes G Wagon capable of driving at speeds of up to 160mph.

However, after his election, Pope Francis refused to travel in the Popemobile and instead went on the bus with his cardinals.

Pope Francis was given a 40-year-old Renault 4 by a Fr Renzo Zocca from northern Italy as a gift last year.

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