Pope Francis has given an exclusive interview to an Italian magazine run by the homeless – the equivalent of the UK's Big Issue.
The Pope spoke about his decision to house Syrian refugees at the Vatican, saying that other parishes in Rome have followed suit and joked about some people's attitudes to giving money to people that beg.
'Here in the Vatican there are two parishes, and both are housing Syrian families. Many parishes in Rome have also opened their doors and others, which don't have a house for priests, have offered to pay rent for families in need, for a full year,' he said.
Speaking to Scarp de' tenis (Sneakers) magazine yesterday, Francis joked that a glass of wine can sometimes provide a beggar's 'only happiness'. He said: 'There are many arguments which justify why we should not give these alms: "I give money and he just spends it on a glass of wine!" A glass of wine is his only happiness in life!'
The Pope went on to tell a story from his time in Buenos Aires about a mother with five children who answered the door to a homeless man when the father was at lunch. The mother told the children not to give away their father's food, but instead to show real generosity by giving the man some of their own. 'If we wish to give, we must give what is ours!' said the Pope.
The magazine is run by homeless and isolated individuals in Rome and entered into partnership with the Italian arm of the Catholic charity Caritas, in 2008, the Catholic Herald said.
The interview came as news emerged that Pope Francis has accepted a 100 per cent electric car in a pilot project to help the Vatican become an 'emission-free mobility' state.
The project is aimed at helping to align the Vatican with the goals laid out in Laudato Si, the Pope's 2015 environmental encyclical.
Jochen Wermuth, chief investment officer of Wermuth Asset Management, the study's investment adviser, said: 'The fact that the Pope starts using a 100 per cent electric car is great news for the world.
'It sets an example for other heads of state and for anyone in the world to follow. Today it is no longer just morally right, it is also cheaper to own an electric car compared to a combustion engine car.'