Behind the huge gas guzzler, there was a little black Fiat 500L, the same car had ferried Pope Francis into town from Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday afternoon. Apart from the fact that it bore the license plate SCV 1, denoting it as the first vehicle of the Vatican City (“Status Civitatis Vaticanae”), it looked like any other 500L—a 1.4-liter, somewhat elongated version of the iconic Fiat 500, which gets about thirty-five miles to the gallon and costs around twenty thousand dollars. A Marine sentry held open the rear door on the passenger side, and the seventy-eight-year-old Pope climbed out to greet the President. He’d been in the United States, which accounts for about a fifth of the world’s total oil consumption, for only about eighteen hours, and up to that point hadn’t said a word in public. Already, however, he had delivered a message.
You could go crazy trying to read everything that’s being written about Pope Frankie’s visit, but this was one of my favorites (no surprise: John Cassidy is one of my favorite political writers).