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Pope Francis has been given the keys to a Lamborghini

Pope Francis blesses a Lamborghini donated to him by the luxury sports car maker, at the Vatican, on Wednesday. Picture by L'Osservatore Romano, Pool Photo via Associated Press 

Pope Francis has taken receipt of a set of keys for a fancy new Lamborghini - but is unlikely to be taking a tour around the Vatican gardens in it.

Instead, the special edition Huracan is to be auctioned off by Sotheby's, with the proceeds going to charities including one aimed at helping rebuild Christian communities in Iraq that were devastated by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Officials from the luxury sports car maker presented Francis with the sleek white car with papal yellow-gold detailing on Wednesday outside the Vatican hotel where he lives.

The pope promptly blessed it.

Base prices for the Huracan, which was first introduced in 2014, usually start at about €183,000 (£164,000).

A special edition built for a papal charity would be expected to fetch far more at auction.

Francis got around his native Buenos Aires on public transport and has long railed against people who buy the latest model cars or mobile phones.

As pope, he uses a blue Ford Focus inside the Vatican walls and he has made a statement on all his foreign trips by shunning fancy, bullet-proof SUVs and opting instead for modest Fiats or KIAs.

Some of the funds raised from the auction will go to rebuilding homes, churches and public buildings in Iraq's Nineveh Plains that were devastated during three years of fighting by IS.

The Vatican said the aim is to allow Christians who were forced to flee Nineveh "to finally return to their roots and recover their dignity".

Other funds will go to charities that help women who are trafficked and forced into prostitution, and those that provide medical care in Africa.

The Sant'Agata Bolognese-based Lamborghini is owned by Germany's Volkswagen.

Pope Francis speaks with Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali. Picture by L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via Associated Press 

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