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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. Enough Already

    Moderator, why are you blocking my RCC abuse stats??

    December 4, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • Enough Already

      $3-Billion and growing. Doesn't this bother anyone?

      December 4, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • HotAirAce

      There's no active moderator. Your post contains a word fragment that might be part of a naughty word. A common one is "cu.m" as in "docu.ment.". Others are "s3x," ti.t," "ho.mo." and "u.ck." A more complete list is posted occasionally.

      December 4, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  2. Mary

    That is a good news; it shows that he has not been a parasit like the rest of clergymen. Well done pope!

    December 4, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  3. Journey

    What a blessing it would have been to have Francis slam your head into a jukebox.

    December 4, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  4. Enough Already

    Sigh

    December 4, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  5. Not a believer

    This article was meant to humanise him, point out how he is one with his people. It is a positive story...

    December 4, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  6. Brian P

    The Pope was the cooler.

    Pain don't hurt.
    Be nice until it's time to not be nice.

    December 4, 2013 at 1:05 am |
  7. ME II

    please don't let sam come near me. i really hate terrifying little girls

    December 4, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  8. ME II

    they got 6 bouncers to bounce me when i was bouncing, just in case somebody angered me

    December 4, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  9. kirkbross

    He should apply his skills and bounce some of the unsavory characters out of the church... like 20% of all priests and cardinals.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  10. ME II

    they hiad 6 bouncers to bounce me when i was bouncing, just in case somebody angered me

    December 4, 2013 at 12:56 am |
  11. ME II

    they hired 6 bouncers to bounce me when i was bouncing, just in case somebody angered me

    December 4, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  12. Adam

    Thank GOD for this pope!

    December 4, 2013 at 12:51 am |
  13. Mxylplk

    Love pope Frankie.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • Anonymous

      I have never gone to a poor family's home and given stuff to them on a special day, but this year am doing it because of the inspiration Pope Francis has bestowed on me. Christmas is going to be a really nice time for some poor family out there this time and am looking forward to it.

      December 4, 2013 at 2:10 am |
  14. maggie

    definitely an improvement from pope benedict whose previous job was in the german army

    December 4, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • James Rustle

      That is a blatant lie. Benedict was in the Hitler Youth, as all German boys his age were required to be. He was too young to have done anything particularly insidious back then.

      December 4, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  15. Rob Ford

    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 12:18 am |
    • Maddy

      He was born in 1936, so...no.
      Wrong Pope, wrong continent, even.

      December 4, 2013 at 12:42 am |
  16. Christian

    All of you saying negative things, beware God doesn't like it when you "trash" his anointed. So, better regret your foolish words and give reverence to the man of God.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Enough Already

      Excuse me, but who said he was "God's anointed"? Have you read Matthew 7 lately?

      December 4, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • sam stone

      "man of god"?

      what tripe

      December 4, 2013 at 3:58 am |
  17. anthrogirl

    I'm loving this Pope as do most in my parish. What's cool in school (religious ed school that is), is that kids are digging this guy like no other Pope in decades. Even John Paul is losing his luster next to him. He's got people talking about helping the poor and disadvantaged. He's making it honorable again to go out and defend people persecuted for who they are. I for one am proud of my Pope.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • farside6262

      Sooo with you. Raised as a Catholic and gave up on it many years ago because of the hypocrisy. This is the first pope I've ever heard that makes sense in our era!

      December 4, 2013 at 12:29 am |
  18. Pauley

    I'm an atheist hooked on pain pills... and even I love this pope!!

    December 4, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Joe

      This Pope is pretty cool. Its awesome to see that many people like him, even people who are not religious at all, including atheist. He also likes everybody in return, which is very nice.

      December 4, 2013 at 12:19 am |
      • susan

        All popes are nice guys, some are just better popes than others.

        December 4, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  19. jeff

    Wonder if Francis when he worked as a bouncer told the employees in the bar to....be nice.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:12 am |
  20. Awakened

    The Vatican should start selling some of it's gold, land and other pompus excentricities and help the starving in the Congo and the victims of typhoon in the Philippines...do you EVER hear the Vatican contributing to world disasters? The Pope should lead by example ...put his words into action! 🙂

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

      Amen. Why store up treasures on earth? It would be so wonderful to see them doing all the good that they can.

      December 4, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Thomas

      They actually help a tremendous amount. They don't advertise it however – I believe that's even in the bible. 😉

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

      Yes. The RCC helps in disasters all if the time. They remain the largest charity in the world.
      Their treasure lays mainly in architectural, historical, and archaeological treasure.
      For instance, his would you propose selling the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

      December 4, 2013 at 12:50 am |
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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.