We're not entirely sure what keeping Fiat jobs in Italy has to do with the Catholic Church – other than the fact that the Pope was given a Ducato van from the automaker last year – but we guess that's not really any of our business, right? Whatever the case, Pope Benedict XVI has urged Fiat and the Italian government to keep Italian workers employed. "Everything possible must be done to save jobs that are in danger, especially in areas in crisis such as Termini Imerese," said the Pope.

Last Wednesday, at least two-thirds of Italy's 80,000 Fiat workers (including those for Ferrari and Maserati) went on strike to protest the planned closure of Fiat's Termini Imerese plant. The company's smallest plant, the facility is located on the island of Sicily, and Fiat claims shipping parts to the remote location is too expensive.

In the end, though, it all seems for naught, as Fiat has signaled that it still plans to move forward with the plant's closure. According to the Italian government, there have been seven separate proposals to purchase the plant and convert it for another use, perhaps even as a supermarket or Ikea store.

[Source: NPR, Business Week]