Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who is also president of the FIAT Italian car company, on Monday gave the Pope a check for €950,000 ($1.1 million), which the Holy Father will allocate to charitable works.

The funds were the proceeds of the auction of a Ferrari Enzo, the firm's most exclusive model, given by Montezemolo to Pope John Paul II last Jan. 17, during a papal audience granted to Ferrari members.

Attending Monday's audience were Ferrari executives, including Piero Ferrari, the founder's son and vice president of the firm.

"The F1 steering wheel of the champion of the world, for Your Holiness Benedict XVI, pilot of Christianity," read the message on the gift given to the Pope.

"It is very complicated, Holiness," explained Montezemolo, referring to the difficulty of steering a racing car. Joking, the Pope noted the "complexity" of guiding the Church.