Pope: Priests should buy 'humble' cars

Pope Francis tells priests & nuns should buy more 'humble' cars.

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the papamobile during his inauguration mass at St Peter's square on March 19, 2013 at the Vatican. World leaders flew in for Pope Francis's inauguration mass in St Peter's Square on Tuesday where Latin America's first pontiff will receive the formal symbols of papal power. Picture: AFP.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis said on Saturday it pained him to see priests driving flashy cars, and told them to pick something more "humble".

As part of his drive to make the Catholic Church more austere and focus on the poor, Francis told young and trainee priests and nuns from around the world that having the latest smartphone or fashion accessory was not the route to happiness.

"It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can't do this," he said.

"A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world," he said.

Since succeeding Pope Benedict in March, the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has eschewed some of the more ostentatious trappings of his office and has chosen to live in a Vatican guest house rather than the opulent papal apartments.

The ANSA news agency said the pope's car of choice for moving around the walled Vatican City was a compact Ford Focus.