Pope Francis will use a retrofitted Jeep Wrangler as a Popemobile during his September visit to the United States, similar to the one the pontiff used last month while driving around Ecuador, the Holy See Press Office said this week.
The vehicle is in the hands of the Secret Service in the United States, the Holy See Press Office said in an emailed statement.
The exact set-up of the American Popemobile — along with details on where precisely the pontiff will use it to get around — weren’t immediately available. The Vatican did not provide more specific information on when Pope Francis will use the vehicle during his trip to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia next month.
In the past, Francis has used an open Popemobile to move through crowds whenever possible.
The Ecuador Popemobile was open on the sides, with a clear shield in front and above where Francis stood.
In a 2014 interview, the pontiff said using a bulletproof Popemobile to travel is like being confined to a “sardine can,” one that cuts him off from other people, as Vatican Radio wrote.
“It’s true that anything could happen,” the 78-year-old Francis added, “but let’s face it, at my age, I don’t have much to lose.”
The “Popemobile,” an informal term long used to designate the vehicle by which the pope travels, doesn’t necessarily refer to one specific car. Over the years, the Vatican noted, many different car models have been used in this capacity.
Pope Francis has used a number of different car brands as Popemobiles during his trips: Mercedes, Toyota, Isuzu, Kia, Hyundai, Land Rover and Jeep, according to the Vatican.
At least one iteration of the Popemobile, used in Naples, was conveniently open enough on the sides to allow a local pizza joint to make a special delivery to Francis.