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Sunday 21 September 2014

Pope gives friend a Vatican ride

Published 08/01/2014 | 14:47

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Rev Fabian Baez, bottom right, sits behind Pope Francis on his popemobile as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican (AP)
The pope greets his friend Fabian Baez before inviting him for a spin in his popemobile (AP)

Pope Francis has broken with papal protocol once again, inviting a friend for a spin in his popemobile.

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Fabian Baez, a priest from Francis' hometown in Buenos Aires, did not have a VIP ticket for the pope's weekly general audience. But as soon as Francis saw him in the crowd, the pope signaled for the Vatican guards to help him jump the barricade and approach.

Francis then invited him to hop aboard, and Father Baez accompanied Francis on his tour through St. Peter's Square as the pope waved to well-wishers and kissed babies handed up to him.

He said he was shocked by Francis' invitation: "I said to myself 'What am I doing here? Mamma mia!'"

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