December 3rd, 2013
02:11 PM ET

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(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. Themble

    WE GET IT! You're the coolest Pope there ever was or will be.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Reality # 2

    Francis could have been a dog catcher and/or garbage man in his former life. Then and now, he is still a victim of the great Christian con.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • rory

      is it just me or are there a lot of athiests rallying against Christianity in general on these boards? it's like an article that comes out "okay the pope was a bouncer' ...suddenly you have all these posts "your God is FAKE". Or "Billy Graham sends last message" ....and then it's "you all believe in the Christina Con" It's like Athiests have penis envy or something.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  3. jimmraz

    POPE GAGA ! in the news every day for sweet F all

    December 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  4. Daisy

    There is nothing wrong in being a club bouncer. It is so nice to know that Pope Francis lived an ordinary life. This is the reason why he can relate to the people. This is the kind of pope Catholics need at this time. I have strayed from my Catholic Faith for 50 years because I disagreed in a lot of the teachings and beliefs. Because of the changes this pope is implementing, I have gone back to church for the first time in 50 years. I also planned to go on a pilgrimage to the Vatican and to Portugal. I am going home to the Catholic Church where I was baptized. It is because of Pope Francis that I am going back to the Catholic Faith.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  5. Sumsanity

    I remember him. He kicked me in the nuts and punched me in the eye and told me if I ever showed my GD $^%@$!* face in this bar again he would shove his foot so far up my A$$ I would be able to taste shoe leather.
    He was a mean em effer.
    Other than that he was a really nice guy.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Bernie

      He would let cute, underage boys into the bar.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        And then "bounce" (wink, wink) them.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      Great to see republican respect for religion and their.....uh.....family values....as they are....so to speak.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • pa jesseson

      i just love a man who can bounce.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  6. Loathstheright

    Bouncer....you know the guy who throws republicans out of their special bars when they get out of hand.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  7. A Looney Atheist Wet Dream

    Hey, I'm a believer in an imaginary sky fairy. My belief is exactly like believing in Santa Claus and fairy tales. Those looney atheist web sites you derive your packaged responses are exactly correct. The only reason I believe in God is because I can not use logic or reason. I just use delusions and fear of being punished by an angry, vengeful God to come to my decisions. I'm exactly what your brain decides to tell you I am. Spot on.
    Now wake up, looney atheists. And join us all in reality.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Observer

      Does your "reality" include unicorns, talking non-humans, dragons, and people turning into salt?

      December 3, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
      • Dust

        Only in your dreamzzzz

        December 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
        • Observer


          or the Bible.

          December 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      Your reality seems to be very...."special"....and very exciting in "low IQ land".

      December 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
      • Dust

        I'm so delusional I spend all day long arguing against a God that doesn't exist.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Julian

      You present a very well-reasoned argument.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • rory

      wow another athiest throwing out his very unfunny sarcastic view of a faith he knows nothing about.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  8. Meridian

    Inspiring to know that God's rep has walked in an ordinary man's footsteps, and gained such grace to share. Lovely man.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Britnee

      Though I am not religious, I love your response. Nice to see something other than a rant or rave or long speech about how he should be perfect. Well said. 🙂

      December 3, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Enough Already

      "God's rep"? Really? Is that what God said? What scripture is that? Or is that what you WANT to believe? Oh my. I just thru-up in my mouth.

      December 4, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  9. liku

    Ok Pope Francis With great respect to you because you represent the catholic church St .Peters' we would like to do what a Pope is chosen to do . Keeo your experience for yourself , it will help you anyway to be Peoples' Pope. And clean all the dirty stuff those thugs in the church are doing. That will really busy for a long time. God help you help yourself as they say.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  10. Okay Guy

    The Pope is modest about his specialty headlock and roundhouse kick. He forgives those rowdy blokes he left on the pavement after their drunken trouble making. He wished they got home safely for many years.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Bernie

      Remember when that trouble maker came into the bar... and he had a switch blade knife hidden in his boot? The pope noticed that right away and had no trouble dealing with that sucker.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  11. Elena

    I am not catholic but i am starting to like the pope!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    December 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Sara(swati)

      He's still denying the church's role in 3rd world poverty due to its opposition to birth control and still promoting that opposition, despite the obvious negative economic and psychological impacts. He still opposes women clergy and thinks gays are sinners...though Catholics should be nice about it. So I hope he does so me good, but I'd be surprised if it outweighs the harm. It will take them decades to clean up just the messes they themselves created.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  12. jimmraz

    "Pope Francis kisses and hugs disfigured man"

    Give the man a break, we all have our fetishes.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Richard

    Bouncing evil capitalists out of churches?

    December 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  14. olepi

    Well whaddya know, the Pope is a real person.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  15. Andrew

    This pope is seriously embarrassing conservative christians around the world by being the kind of person they are supposed to be.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  16. Rory

    This pope brings the very essence of Christianity to the forefront. Service work.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Rory

      Though I'm not catholic, I love him for it. He truly embodies Christ.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  17. Harry Cline

    Even the atheist like you Francis.
    Stay on course and fight these illuminate thuggs on both sides of the Atlantic.
    They have not only corrupted the image of God they have corrupted capitalism.

    Jews for Francis !

    December 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Arne

      Bigot. Just like the rest of your clan.

      Life is best in the west, dummy, but only where it is least religie.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  18. Kristen Cullen

    Wow! That is sooo cool for a pope to admit! Hats off to you Pope Francis!! 🙂

    December 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  19. Jackie Rawlings

    Interesting life in his youth but can't wait for the attacks. We look back to our leaders Reagan a lifeguard, HW Bush had his wealthy Father give him everything on job needed, as HW Bush did the same for his son GW who even today questions what is work. We had Clinton that worked in his Uncle's grocery store, played the saxophone. Carter the farmer who lived in public housing. But most successful people have a pass and grew to learn from it.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • skidog1111

      What about obama?

      December 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
      • Elena

        Community organizer, ha ha ha 😉

        December 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • mojosofcherrydale

      I'm guessing you were raised by an english professor, or a meth head with little knowledge of history...

      December 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  20. M.A.

    Has a sense of humor too! Go figure. As I was leaving, he checked my identification again. Said thank you, welcome back, it's good seeing you. 😀

    December 3, 2013 at 10:18 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.