VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is forgoing the bulletproof popemobile for his upcoming trip to Brazil for the Catholic Church's youth festival.
The Argentine pope will instead use the same open-topped car he uses for zooming around St. Peter's Square to move about Rio de Janeiro, where he arrives July 22.
In recent times, popes have always used the protected popemobile for trips outside Rome. Francis, however, put ended the tradition when he used an open-topped Fiat during his recent visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Francis has made a point of tweaking Vatican protocol, especially where it concerns the trappings of the papacy and his ability to connect with ordinary people.
The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi announced the change Wednesday during a briefing about the pope's July 22-28 trip.