December 3rd, 2013
02:11 PM ET

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN)– If St. Peter ever needs help at the Pearly Gates, his successor Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job.

The popular pontiff was once a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina, Francis told Catholics at a church outside Rome earlier this week.

He has also swept floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory, the Pope said, in revelations sure to boost his image as a "pope of the people." And, as leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina, he woke at 5:30 a.m. to do the priests' laundry, according to author Christopher Lowney.

READ MORE: When Pope Francis was put on laundry duty

Francis didn't offer details about his career as a bouncer, according to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, or what connection his velvet-rope experience might have to his current job as Vicar of Christ and head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Instead, the Pope told the church group, "his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church," reports Catholic News Service.

Getting people into church seems to be Pope Francis' primary mission these days, as made clear by his most recent official statement, a 50,000-word pep talk to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

READ MORE: Pope Francis: No more business as usual

In "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), officially known as an "apostolic exhortation," Francis calls for church reforms, urges Catholics to be more bold and joyful, and castigates elements of modern capitalism.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets," the Pope said, "rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."

Did Francis leave a few barflies bruised and hurting during his bouncing days? No word on that from the Vatican yet.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Leaders • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,229 Responses)
  1. children of Israel

    The God of Israel is going to punish all the religious even Catholics, now say something negative about Jacob (Genesis 27:29-30) *Isaiah 41:21*

    December 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Jacob sucks. . . (fill in the blank)!

      December 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  2. inquireingmimd

    The paramount question:
    Did he lay with whooores.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  3. religion preaches death for your god

    men in dresses telling you that you dont need money to buy food or to clothe your kids, guess they really believe the free food aid paid for by worldwide taxpayers is from god, if men wearing dresses in 2013 is not a sign of mental problems the beliefs and ideals certainly are of the mentally infirm

    December 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  4. lbb

    My god, the idiotic crap that CNN chooses for its headlines.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  5. Marc

    How cool would it be to say you got your ass kicked by the Pope in an Argentinian night club back in the day?

    December 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Steph M


      December 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  6. Enough Already

    CNN = "Catholic News Network". Tune into CNN each day for a daily dose of Pope PR conveniently disguised as "journalism".

    December 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  7. maxp0wer

    I'm sooo tired of hearing about this guy. Why is there a new story about the pope every day on this website.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Devon Lovelock

      He is the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion of your fellow human beings on this planet. Would you rather see Kim Kardashian stories? I'm an atheist, but I follow this man's actions intently, and yes, I might even kneel before him and kiss the ring on his finger if I were ever to be in his presence.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  8. Humans at their best

    first a black president then comes Pope Francis and his liberal ways ... difficult times are ahead for the conservative elite.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  9. children of Israel

    Why are Jewish people praying in the Roman Catholic church, or even sitting in temples and in synagogues? (Acts 7:49) What happened to the God of Israel, Christ and the apostles are with the lost sheep of house of Israel. Is that a lie? Give correction. (St. Matthew 10:5-6 and 15:24)

    December 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Colin

      Judaism is the belief that an immortal, all-knowing super-being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its countless billions of galaxies (each with billions of stars and planets) about 13,720,000,000 years ago, has a personal interest in how much skin I have on my di.ck.

      Christianity is the belief that this same super-being impregnated a Greco-Roman Jewish virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself, and then sacrifice himself to himself, to forgive the "original sin" of a couple we now all know never existed.

      Western atheism is the belief that the above beliefs are fvcking stupid.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
      • brian

        Probably the best thing I have ever read on this site. Well said.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • Steph M


        December 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  10. Dajiba

    People's Pop. People President.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Dave

      And the right can't stand either of them.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Wickeddoll

      Atheists would be taken a lot more seriously, if they didn't seem to be so angry. I have atheist friends who have the ability to discuss their disbelief, without resorting to insults.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  11. Andrew

    Hey, you guys hear that? That's the sound of the Pope's street cred goin through the roof!

    December 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Steph M


      December 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  12. Gloria

    I guarantee that this Pope will be very threatening to ultra conservatives in the church as well as the government as he continues to advocate for the poor and the needy all over the world. As a Roman Catholic, I am so inspired by him. I feel that my Church has been moving in the wrong direction when it comes to some very important social issues. I have hope that this pope will get the Church moving on the right track again.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Andrew

      Whoa, where does this pope get off thinking he can spread the word of God by telling people to do what Jesus would do...

      December 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • Dave

        Jesus was also a Marxist by their standards.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Mike

      If this guy is for real, he could fundamentally alter the way the Catholic Church operates in the world...a very refreshing thought to an old and seriously disillusioned Catholic.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  13. rino

    I love this pope more and more, and I am not even Christina.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  14. Path

    Looks like the God has chosen an earthly-man this time. Good job God. I want him to do good.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Colin

      Why do you think God got his earlier appointments so wrong – including adulterers, murderers, thieves and villians? Why so many bad Popes throughout the centuries. It's almost as if it were an entirely human affair isn't it?

      December 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • Topher

        To be fair, there are no good people according to the Bible.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • Colin

          the psychology of the Christian believer, that they are somehow "underevring" or "sinners" or otherwise inferior, is interesting. I wonder whther it is a derivative of the subordinate members of any species supplicating themselves to the dominant male/female.

          December 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • Topher

          How about you, Colin? Are you a good person?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • Carey

          Has Topher been a good boy for Christmas?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • Colin

          I have my shortcomings, but they derive from hurting those I love, not from some artificial sky-god who is pi.ssed at me because some mythological couple ate a fvcking apple over 6,000 years ago !!!

          December 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Topher


          Good by who's standard? Man's or God's?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Topher


          Have you lied?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • Colin

          of course.

          December 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • Topher

          Have you ever stolen anything?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • Colin

          Not since middle school.

          December 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • Topher

          What about used God's name in place of a curse word? Or said, "OM-!" ?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
        • Steph M

          You're joking, right?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Topher


          About what?

          December 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          So there is a standard that can be set by which no one is good. I believe it comes down to there is none perfect, therefore no one is good. I don't think that is terribly useful. Nothing perfect is actually gauging me by such standards or any other standards and I refuse to apply such standards to myself or allow that anyone anyone else can apply them to me. So there.

          December 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • sam stone

          to be fair, the bible is a collection of edited, translated hearsay. there are good people, despite what the iron age comic book says

          December 4, 2013 at 4:07 am |
        • sam stone

          here we go again, gopher purporting to know "god's" standards

          what a tool

          December 4, 2013 at 4:11 am |
      • Rory

        The psychology refers to the human connection. That god so loved the world....to love god with your heart soul and mind, and your fellow human as yourself. I do not call the Judea Christian beliefs subordinate but true evolution of our souls. If you do not understand this, then you need to search yourself

        December 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Topher


      December 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
      • Ed

        Maybe she was trying to distinguish him from a "girlie-man" :-). I dunno.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  15. Insight

    Pope and Obama will make history whether Rush Limbaugh and Republicans like it or not.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  16. RHZ

    There is no way not to love this guy.
    I am not Catholic, but he could convert me.
    Go Francis

    December 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Nichola Imtias

      In complete agreement with you

      December 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Jose V. R.

      I am from Latin America ... I believe this 'dude-pope' will surprise more – with a smile – than they even suspect. Specifically, I believe he will be the long-sought 'catalyst' to empower the green movement in the continent and the protection of native cultures of the rainforest.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Sara(swati)

      Really, you'd give up birth control and deny supplies to developing countries, restrict se.xual activity beyond what psychologists believe is healthy for relationships and accept ho.mos.exuality as immoral? Have fun with that.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Not to mention condoning the continued protection of child abusers and their criminal protectors.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  17. Coolius Caesar

    I am an atheist, but he is a solid human being

    December 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  18. jane doe

    he speaks to things that so many believe and so many do not do. caring for the poor.

    bless him. i'm not religious, but i feel i should contribute. i have before but never becuz of a pontiff.
    what a marxist!! lol

    December 3, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  19. Megan Hunsdale

    love it

    December 3, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  20. manlian

    He is not a real Christian or a real Catholic

    December 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • jane doe


      December 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • cheech

      but you are one funny person

      December 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Gloria

      What? If he is not a real Christian or a real Catholic in your eyes, then what is he? I'm curious.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • LouieD

      Manlian is not a real message board poster.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Where does one go to get a "Certified "True Scotsman" Catholic" designation?

      December 3, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.