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December 3rd, 2013
02:11 PM ET

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(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. Tim

    I am not a practicing catholic or christian however if you read the new testament you will find that this pope at least seemingly is practicing the examples Christ demonstrated. He preaches forgiveness and redemption love and humility and though it is more then reasonable to debate the facts behind a faith he demonstrates his message and for that I commend him. He is a good man,

    December 4, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • GreyGoose

      Hey Tim you already said the samething just below but as FT...

      December 4, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Enough Already

      Nothing wrong for any man to manifest Christian qualities. Many atheists do the same without realizing it. But why does this man insist on displaying them in the public eye "in costume"? Jesus taught that man should not glorify themselves, but glorify God instead. What did Jesus call the religious leaders who wore similar outfits with enlarged scripture-carrying cases on their foreheads, extended fringes on their garments, while "praying on the market street corners"? "Hypocrites", "offspring of serpents". If you believe in Jesus' words, then this is a no-brainer

      December 4, 2013 at 12:24 am |
      • JM

        This guy is wearing simple white.

        According to Jesus, the Pharisees are the ones who loudly proclaim: Thank you, God that I am not a sinner like the rest of these (lowlifes around me).

        This pope is great.

        December 4, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • Enough Already

          "White"? What on earth does that mean? If the color of his garment is all you can see, then your eyes are indeed "veiled".

          December 4, 2013 at 12:34 am |
        • JM

          I see that he is emulating Christ. What a concept. We so often hear people who purport to be Christian in America who act exactly like the Pharisees.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Enough Already

          Ditch the hat, the gold-trimmed garment, the staff, the shiny ring, the throne and NOW you have a man who is only interested in having his "good deeds" seen by God and not man, which is what the scripture commands.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:46 am |
        • Maddy

          No true Scotsman. Sigh.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:55 am |
      • sensetomake

        You know your stuff. Your words are unusually wise. The points you bring to light are hard for most absorb and are generally dismissed on the basis of tradition... Way to stretch some minds.

        December 4, 2013 at 2:44 am |
  2. Frijolon

    The RCC used back in the 1940s the SS as their bouncers... I'm wondering if Francis was one of them..?!

    December 4, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  3. boofer

    This pope has real life experience...I like that.....the very thing that Bush and Limbrog lack by very involvement alone.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  4. Bribarian

    CNN seems to like this Pope, so we can assume he is evil.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Phil

      There just no more interesting Belief stories left..

      December 4, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Enough Already

      CNN = "Catholic News Network"

      December 4, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  5. John

    What's next, the Pope played on Let It Bleed with the Stones? The church is making an all-out effort to come across as a friendly, one of the guys, kind of bunch. Right.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  6. DaddyYanky

    Look at the pope closely...Do you really think he worked as a bouncer at a night club??

    December 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  7. Phil

    This pope might have good intentions, but he will fail...the church is way too corrupt... The Spiritual ( satan) and earthly mafia own the church. Everyone has to play by their rules!

    December 3, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • tony

      Well the earthly mafia, anyway.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Lucky_Teeter

      The Pope is Dope...don't mess with the MAN......he will bounce you right off the Earth...lol

      December 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
      • Phil

        You got me afraid for a moment there... Lol!

        December 4, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • HotAirAce

      There's not enough glue in the world to stop the RCC (and all cults) "house of cards" from continuing to crumble.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
      • Phil

        Time has shown us which churches have been crumbling down... But the near future will bring more surprises.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Your prophecy has an alarming degree of specificity – did you lift it from The Babble?

          December 4, 2013 at 12:13 am |
        • Phil

          Yes the bible says so.. But you don't need to read the bible to see that things are heading that way.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  8. momzna

    Since they mentioned the Pearly Gates, thank god he was not a boxer.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  9. MJ

    Typical of idiots to write this article with big headlines. I have news for all of you. The Pope stands by all the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. He is just a good man and wants everyone to love one another, but believe me, he is not saying it is a "free for all" now that he is Pope.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  10. Mark

    This pope is PERFECT on so many levels.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • tony

      His "coronation" looked like a gay wedding – he in his white dress and lots of bridesmen in matching red outfits. . . .

      December 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
      • Kaiser

        You speak like trash most probably you are one.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  11. are122

    That's what we need for a president...someone that actually worked most of their lives instead of career politicians and ambulance chasing lawyers.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Phil

      A good president is not one that speaks beautifull words, but the one that puts his words in to practice.. The Pope has spoke much, but the church has not put in to practise what he says!

      December 3, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  12. foobler

    interestingly paul walkers grandfather was a bouncer for Jimmy Savile's nightclub in the UK and Jimmy Sevie was given a papal knighthood by pope john paul II

    December 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Sounds like being a bouncer is a step to sure-fired success. Time to open a bouncer school. I wonder if I can get an endorsement from Pope-A-Dope?

      December 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  13. BLAhMeBlahYou

    ....Ck
    The
    P0pe

    December 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  14. John Vance

    I'm not religious but I think I'd like this guy and give him a listen.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Victor

      Calling Pope "a guy" is a very atheistic simpleton thing to say. If you ever meet him, do not give him any of your red neck appellations and indeed listen to Him quite well. And I feel like a sinner, because after reading your comment a lot of sub-grammatical expressions rolled through my mind until I pacified my wordings to a level of partial tolerance towards your comment. So, I feel content by wrapping my contempt into a very restrained statement that has a point for you.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Did you intend to use "Him" above? I thought capitals were reserved for alleged, unproven supernatural beings.

        December 4, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • NelsonLeonard

      I think he would enjoy the fact that you may listen to him. I am a cradle-born Christian and I think it is fine to call him a "guy" – in a way, I think he might like that. Happy Holidays!

      December 4, 2013 at 3:24 am |
  15. Dave

    And now, here come the attempts to discredit the new pope. This is only the first salvo folks.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • JM

      Nothing to discredit. He's the real deal. The whole point of faith: God loves people.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • tony

        You got that backwards. Some people love "god".

        You wouldn't say "Father Christmas" loves people would you, but many children"love" father christmas.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  16. Journey

    How cool would it be to say "man I remember I got drunk and rowdy and the Pope threw me through a window in Buenos Aries back in the early 60's'. And I bet in his prime Francis could beat the crap out of Pastor Mark Driscoll.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Jaimie

      LOL

      December 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  17. a_famous_brony

    why is this front page news?? seriously...
    who the hell cares?

    December 3, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • jim

      Because its interesting, Lighten up

      December 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
      • BLAhMeBlahYou

        Interesting to Who ?

        must be to you , you ...king " NiNNiE "

        December 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • FT

      I'm not Catholic and don't believe in god. Yet, it touches millions of people who follow the Pope's direction. Also, this article is in CNN's religion blog. To be honest with you, the direction of the Catholic Church impacts my life in the long run much more than a train derailment in NY or typhoon in the Phillipines. Those were accidents and acts of nature. In two weeks the only people that are impacted by storms or accidents are those with relatives and roots in NY or the Phillipines.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
      • PS

        Maybe you should look into FT … all of the worlds peoples hearts have a hole that can only be filled with one thing …

        December 4, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • le

      gosh, um, because it is unusual...AND he is the spiriual leader of millions of people in the whole world.....if you would rather read about the Kardashian's Christmas card you can find that on yahoo

      December 3, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  18. JOSH P.

    Too little too late Catholic Church and all others,most people have by now realized that you are scammers and was always in it for the MONEY.They had one CROOK retired early,and suddenly this guy come out of nowhere pretending that,they just now realized that they were wrong about many many things that they used to BURN people alive for,how about stop STEALING money from your followers.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  19. kennyzales

    An ordinary man from an ordinary background with an ordinary profession. Kind of like another "ordinary" guy who was a carpenter.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      Very well said..

      December 3, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Did that other ordinary man continue to protect child abusers and those that covered up criminal behavior?

      December 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
      • Harry Cline

        As if you really care right.
        Go away this conversation is for adults only.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Oh no! I must have offended some poor believer and they pushed the "Report abuse" link. Whatever am I to do?!? Waaaaa!

          December 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
      • JM

        This man cares and is changing things.

        Who of us hasn't covered up child abuse by not doing something about it (when it goes on around us every single day: here, abroad)?

        December 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Who of us is sitting on top of every detail of every instance of child abuse committed by RCC priests and covered up by the RCC hierarchy? See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25204805

          December 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • JM

          It's a horrible, scandalous thing. But he is not responsible for what terrible, selfish people did in the past.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
        • JM

          Slavery took place over 200 years in this country followed by Jim Crow, lynchings, etc. We are not what we used to be (much of the country). The church needs to be set on the right course too.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          If the current Pope-A-Dope is innocent, what has he got to lose by not releasing every bit of information the RCC has?

          December 3, 2013 at 11:47 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.