Pope Francis takes migrant children for a spin in his popemobile

Pope Francis has given a joyride in his popemobile to eight migrant children who recently arrived in Italy from Libya.

Francis picked up the children, who hail from Syria, Nigeria and Congo, at the start of his weekly general audience on Wednesday and zoomed around St Peter’s Square with them in the backseat.

Some waved, others gave a thumbs up before bidding Francis goodbye with hugs and a selfie.

Pope Francis poses for a selfie with a group of migrants (Andrew Medichini/AP)

The Vatican said some of the children had arrived in Italy on a migrant boat a few months ago, while others arrived on April 29 with their families via a humanitarian corridor.

Francis has clashed with Italy’s hard-line government about the need to welcome and integrate migrants.

Francis returned home from a 2016 trip to Greece with a dozen Syrians on his plane.

- Press Association

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