Rolls-Royce offer for private Pope Francis meeting ‘does not exist anymore’
Vatican City, Mar 6, 2020 / 10:41 am (CNA).- Rolls Royce and Italian Luxury Living are no longer offering an exclusive meeting and Mass with Pope Francis to Rolls Royce owners who donate over $100,000 to the Catholic Church.
“The offer does not exist anymore,” Ananda Gari of Italian Luxury Living told CNA by phone March 6.
Religion News Service reported March 5 that Rolls-Royce was offering its luxury car owners a chance to meet privately with Pope Francis, receive the Eucharist from the pope during a private Mass, and take an “exclusive” tour of the Vatican. The cost of the trip was reportedly $155,000, in addition to a suggested donation of 100,000 euros to the Holy See.
The RNS report said the offer was facilitated through tour operator Italian Luxury Living.
Gari said his company and Rolls-Royce decided mutually to cancel the offer to meet Pope Francis.
Gari said that he did not want to cause a “scandal,” which is why the offer was “canceled.” He declined to elaborate.
Gari also declined several times to answer questions about whether some Vatican official was to be the facilitator of the exclusive meeting, insisting only that “the offer no longer exists.”
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told CNA March 6 he has “heard nothing of this offer.”
Italian Luxury Living is registered as a Texas limited liability corporation. The company was registered with the Texas Secretary of State in April 2018; its registered agent is Jonathan Henley, an attorney in the 16,000-person town of Gainesville, Texas. The company’s official address is the office of Henley’s law firm.
“I set up the company a long time ago and have not heard from the guy,” Henley told CNA March 6.
“That sounds fishy to me,” Henley added, asking if the offer was “some sort of scam.”
“If there is something going on like that, I will be resigning as a registered agent.”
As of March 6, the company’s website says it has been taken down temporarily, “for maintenance.” Gari told CNA he took the site down after the publication of the RNS story, which he said could be “damaging” to hims professionally.
On the company’s LinkedIn page, Gari is listed both as Italian Luxury Living’s “Founder and Director,” and as the company’s “President and Co-Founder.”
According to British registries, Gari is also director of two UK companies: ALG Ventures, founded in October 2019, and Journey of a Lifetime Entertainment Limited, founded in November 2019.
Gari insisted to CNA that his company has never before offered an opportunity to meet the pope. He also equated the offer to other typical Italian tour offers and said “competitors have done similar things.”
JD Flynn contributed to this report.