VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul has received a flame red Ferrari from the Italian world championship racing team — a model of one, that is — for having what they said was the inside track on the roads of humanity.
Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and the rest of the Ferrari team met the Pope in the Vatican’s frescoed Clementina Hall on Monday to give him the 1:5 scale model of the car that won both the championship and constructor titles in 2004.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo told the Pope Ferrari drivers, mechanics and management wanted to honour him because his courage and defence of human rights had put him "for the past 26 years in the pole position of the roads of humanity".
Pole position refers to the most favourable position at the start of a race, given to the fastest car.
"It is the first time that one of our cars — even though it is a model — has entered the Vatican," Montezemolo told the Pope. "We consider this the most prestigious finishing line for us. We feel like you are one of us and we thank you for the example you have given."
There was a poignant contrast between the speed represented by the model car whose real version can reach 350 kph (218 mph) and the slow movement of the 84-year-old Pope, who no longer walks and was wheeled into the room on a special chair.
But an emotional Schumacher later told reporters he found inspiration from being close to the Pope and from seeing how he copes with the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease and severe arthritis. [Source]
A poignant contrast between the speed represented by the model car … and the slow movement of the 84-year-old Pope? Whenever reading articles about the Pope from the secular press you always wonder just how long it will take them to take a crack at the Pope’s health. I think there is a poignant contrast between the shining intellect of the Holy Father and the intellects of many reporters reporting on him.
Well, at least they kind of came through on a promise. I posted in October that they said they were going to build a special car for the Pope…but that one you have there in the picture looks kind of small!
Whenever reading articles about the Pope from the secular press you always wonder just how long it will take them to take a crack at the Pope’s health.
Or mention his ultra-arch conservativeness and inflexible stance on birth control and “women’s rights”.
“We consider this the most prestigious finishing line for us.”
Yes, because I know my life would be complete if I could just give the Pope a model car. I’m glad they consider the Pope a good example and all, but seriously, what is this other than a publicity stunt?
Perhaps your life would be complete if your mind somehow managed to grasp the concept of symbolic gifting. The “prestigious finishing line” wasn’t the fact that the team gave the pope a car. It was the gesture and the experience that accompanied it. Considering the hundreds of finishing lines that these men have crossed, whether winning or losing, I think that the analogy was quite appropriate.
I don’t think that giving things to the Holy Father is such a PR coup as all that. One only ever sees these pictures on Catholic blogs, or in Inside The Vatican. (BTW, I was hugely amused by the reaction of a casual acquaintance to my copy of ITV – eyes positively bugging out.) Most of these gifts, I think, are prompted by respect for a remarkable man. I wouldn’t give him a toy car myself, but if he would accept the gift of a pair of hand-knitted socks, I’d be out of my mind with gratification.
But it would have been even cooler if they had built him a motorized chair…
But to the real heresy-defining question … did John Paul kiss the car???
As a reporter, and someone who works with the educated but thoughtless that often populate newsrooms, I LOVED that last line!
” I think there is a poignant contrast between the shining intellect of the Holy Father and the intellects of many reporters reporting on him.”
heh. nice zinger.