by Jorge “Francis” Bergoglio
People buy cars based on what they think that car says about them, even if they’re wrong. How many people buy BMWs and Mercedes because they think it will help them to indulge in the carnal sin of the flesh? And yet that really doesn’t work very well, as I have learned from experience. (I wasn’t always in the clergy, you know.)
Nowadays, what I value in a car is austerity and humility. And after touring the austere scenery of America’s east coast in Fiat’s family-sized hatchback, I am pleased to report that there is no more humiliating experience than driving the Fiat 500L.
Though the outside of the 500L appears no larger than that crummy little apartment I live in at the Vatican, it turned out that there was plenty of room for me, my driver, and three of my closest co-workers, although it certainly helps that those three don’t make a habit of appearing in fleshly form. Leg and shoulder space are adequate, and there’s so much headroom that I seriously considered trading in my yarmulke for the ridiculously tall hat John Paul II was so fond of.
The 500L’s big doors make for easy ingress and egress, especially when one is wearing a cassock (and that’s what it’s called, people, so please stop calling it a dress, because it isn’t. Women wear dresses, and women aren’t supposed to be priests, remember?). And the ergonomics are excellent for a holy man such as myself, with all controls falling right to hand: Patris, Filii, Spiritus Sancti, rear defogger.
I have advised my clergy to be thrifty in their choice of transportation, so the 500L’s plummeting resale value is a definite advantage. The 500L loses nearly 80% of its value the moment you drive it off the dealer’s lot, and you can pick up a clean secondhand example with less than 24,000 miles on the clock for about the same price as a used Dan Brown paperback.
Of course, reliability is a concern with any Fiat, especially one built in Serbia at a former Yugo plant. I find that a regimen of daily prayer kept the 500L running just fine, but if you aren’t a Catholic, you might be better off buying a Honda.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the head of the Catholic Church, Bishop of Rome, and Sovereign of the Vatican City. A native of Buenos Aires, Jorge has also worked as a chemist and a nightclub bouncer. When he isn’t writing car reviews for Autoblopnik.com or leading the largest Christian order in the world, he enjoys watching soccer, dancing the tango, and riding the bus.