German pope's old VW 'still heavenly to drive'

29th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 April 2005, OLPE - A six-year-old Volkswagen once owned by Pope Benedict XVI that "was only driven to church on Sundays" was put up for auction on Thursday on the eBay Internet auction house website.

29 April 2005

OLPE - A six-year-old Volkswagen once owned by Pope Benedict XVI that "was only driven to church on Sundays" was put up for auction on Thursday on the eBay Internet auction house website.

"It's still heavenly to drive," said Benjamin Halbe, who bought the VW Golf in January from a second-hand car dealer who claimed that the previous owner had been a senior Roman Catholic church official who drove it to Mass.

"The guy told me that the car had been blessed by a cardinal," said 21-year-old Halbe.

"I thought it was a salesman's yarn until I looked at the registration papers and saw that it had indeed belonged to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger," he said.

The car dealer, Kurt Schneider in the city of Siegen, pointed out that he had never actually said the previous owner had been the man who is now pontiff. But he acknowledged that Ratzinger had been a customer of long-standing.

"We didn't want to make a big deal out of it," Schneider said. "After all, we're in the business of dealing with customers and we don't want to abuse their trust."

Ratzinger's private secretary, who comes from Siegen, purchased cars from the dealership in the cardinal's name.

"His holiness has bought his cars here for some time and he comes to Siegen a couple of times a year and stops in," said Schneider.

However it is unclear who actually drove the car when Ratzinger owned it.

"We assume somebody else drove it for his holiness," said Schneider, who pointed out that Ratzinger has no driver's licence.

DPA

Subject: German news

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