Pope Francis gives £170 to mugged pensioner

Pope Francis has sent €200 to an elderly Venetian woman after she told him she had been mugged on a bus.

The woman wrote to him saying she'd been robbed of her purse, which contained €54, as she travelled to visit her sick husband in hospital. According to Il Mondo, the Pope responded by sending a cheque to her local parish priest, Don Gianni Antoniazzi, asking him to pass the money on.

The accompanying letter read: "Please deliver, in a manner deemed appropriate, the relevant amount to the lady in question as a gift of His Holiness, who accompanies it with his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of divine aid and comfort for her and her husband."

The Pope has made several charitable donations recently. Earlier this month, Archbishop of Agrigento Francesco Montenegro said that after a visit to Lampedusa, Pope Francis had given international phone cards to the immigrants held at the migrant centre there, as well as donating money, tents and children's games.

It has also been reported that Pope Francis is to auction a Harley Davidson and give the proceeds to the renovation fund of a local soup kitchen and hostel. It may seem unlikely that he should own such a thing, but the motorcycle was given to him by the company after he blessed 35,000 Harley Davidson riders in St. Peter's Square last year.

Himself having chosen to be driven in ordinary cars rather than luxury models, he has commented: "It hurts my heart when I see a priest with the latest-model car."

As bishop of Buenos Aires, he spoke out in support of the unemployed, and he has criticised global capitalism on several occasions. Last month, he told unemployed workers in Sardinia: "We don't want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre, as God wants, not money."

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