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. jonusb

    Yeah, I can see why Marie Curie....I mean Sarah Palin and Albert Ein....I mean Rush Limbaugh would have a problem with this Pope. We was just too cool for their tastes.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • jonusb


      December 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • TTTK

        Is that all you have to contribute? Shame.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  2. Sister Valium

    Wrestling match between the Pope and Rush Limbaugh. Pay Per View.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I was just coming here to post something similar. I bet the pope would lay a beat down on his butt. Of course, Rush wouldn't feel a thing, all hopped up on pain killers.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • mr sensitive

      Pope would be the favorite and there would be a No Betting policy in place.
      Still it would be fun to see them go toe to toe.
      In a very dignified manner, of course...

      December 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  3. JohnFrancisM

    That explains why he took a tough guy name like Francis.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Peter T.

      Don't knock the name Francis. My grandmother's name was Francis

      December 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • Joe

        I hope your grandmother's name was Frances.....

        December 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • Seasaw Magnet

          We loved "Carol O'Connor" as Archie Bunker.
          And we loved "John Wayne".
          John Waynes real name was.....Marion Mitchell Morrison.

          Americans have some hang up with names and genders.
          Too many cowboys.
          Grow up.

          December 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • JohnFrancisM

        She must have been a tough guy.

        December 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • mr sensitive

        I never knew you had a Grand Mother named Francis.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • ThatGuy

      Best . . . hahahaha . . . thread . . . . hehehehe . . . . ever lmao

      December 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  4. NelsonLeonard

    It is interesting that he has led the life of an everyday kind of bloke in the past. I always believe that before you can really judge the trials and tribulations of the "common man" you need to have walked in his shoes for awhile. Get a taste of what his life is like, In my profession, when I was disgruntled, I would think about other career choices and think "why didn't I do that?" Well, thinking a job would be great and doing it day after day after day is another thing. The Pope has "walked a mile or so" in other shoes. I wonder if Christ having worked as a carpenter for several years before his public life discovered a thing or two about life as an ordinary man.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • 5774

      Awesome point. What I like about him, though, is that he doesn't seen to be judging at all. It's a breath of fresh, nonjudgemental air.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  5. pickensclause

    There is no way the Pope was just a bouncer- he was the Cooler. I thought you'd be bigger!

    December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • mresce

      That's what they all say!

      December 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • mresce

        sorry wrong line...I guess i should have asked if the pope carries his medical recoreds with him

        December 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  6. Everyman

    Whether or not there is a God, I do believe in this pope.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Whether or not there is a beer, I do believe in this drunk.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    Three are visible. A couple more are hidden beneath his scarf.

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

      More Chins than a Chinese phone book.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • Seasaw Magnet

        Thank you Joan Rivers.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  8. ThroesSpin

    *Bouncer at a Gay Bar

    December 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  9. pkfops

    He's a commie; Rush told me so.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • rc roeder

      and you are a "D+Commie-C" because your comment told me that

      December 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  10. Kestian

    That explains why I had to slip him a $20 to get into the Vatican.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • John M.

      That's the best and funniest line so far. Congrats!

      December 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  11. sunnydayfly

    Hmmm the pope telling he was once a bar bouncer.......Think he's telling Rush to butt out.....Could have his posterior kicked by an old pope

    December 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  12. Lamar S.

    Gotta love this guy! Pope Francis is the coolest Pope ever!

    December 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • 5774

      I agree. I'm not Catholic and generally have no interest in anything papal. But this guy is cool. If there's anything that a pope should be, he must be it. He's more real and caring and legitimately working with the true spirit of Christ than any other that I have seen.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  13. KEVIN

    This guy sounds like the priests who taught me in Catholic High School. They did not put up with any funny business.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  14. 2L

    I bet Francis kicked some Argentine b*tt in his heyday – now that's a REAL pope!

    December 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • joe don smith

      maybe it was the opposite, he got his ass whooped and that's why he became a priest

      December 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  15. BigBankTheory

    It's a known fact that you don't need a brain to be a bouncer, or do the laundry.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bob Bobson

      Perhaps not.

      But you do need humility to do menial jobs.

      And you need brains to teach Psych. and Literature, which he also did.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Andy M

      Or post completely unrelated random comments on CNN.com, apparently.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jeff

      ...or to post comments on a blog.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Paddy

      I washed dishes in a restaurant until 1 am to work my way through college. Francis had to do the same to get an education. Now I a professor and he's a pope.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • doobzz

        Not an English professor, I hope! 🙂

        December 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Grannys Muffins

      ......Or post something stupid.......

      December 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  16. pauleky

    Hope the American media will realize that a big chunk of us couldn't care less what this guy has to say. Glad he seems more progressive, but that's like saying the KKK is less racist.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • rick gangl

      If you did not care you would not be posting anything about the pope and reading articles about him or about the catholics in general!

      December 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  17. ss

    How can you not like this pope

    December 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Is that a rhetorical question?

      December 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • hopeyouguessmyname

        How dare you to claim you are a twin, there is only the one, he shall consume you.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • Clear The Fog

        The battle between good and evil,
        is not just the battle between Democrats and Republicans.

        Its the battle between the left side
        and the right side of your brain.

        Choose the left.
        Its more healthy.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Cerveza Bar advertisement: ' We have a great happy hour, and good drink prices....oh, and by the way....the Pope used to work here".

      December 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • needNewGov

      Very true statement. I've never been enamored with the Catholic Church but this guy is definitely a refreshing voice.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  18. Jeebusss

    Seems like a decent guy but in the end the Catholic Church is still barbaric and there still isn't an invisible man living in the sky.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Southern Celt

      Exactly what about the Catholic Church is barbaric? It stood against barbarians centuries ago. As for God, he doesn't live "in the sky". I believe it was St. Augustine that said picture an hourglass. The top half is the future, the bottom half is the past, the exact middle is the present. Now picture everything outside the hourglass. That is where God is and is how He can be in all places at all times. In today's vernacular you can think of it as another dimension.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Bob Bobson

        Your God is an imaginary fairy at best. At worst he's the careless, absentee, father of a world in chaos.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • martiniano

          Well you sound like a very unhappy person Bob Bobson! What is your motivation for trashing the spiritual beliefs of others? Does it fulfill something in you? A need to show hatred towards other spiritual paths perhaps?

          December 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • booggaloo

          Man has created his own chaos from the beginning of man's time.

          December 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • martiniano

        Well, to begin with there are no barbarians and never have been barbarians. There are only people raised by a different but equal moral code. You call yourself a Celt – so who would you call the barbarians, the Romans or the Celts? See?

        December 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  19. Name*canuda

    How can you not want to buy this guy a drink at a local watering hole?

    December 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  20. Shaggy

    This Pope seems like a pretty good guy, too bad he's saddled with a terrible regressive organization to lead. Oh and a few thousand years of tribal goat herder's traditions to enforce.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • ss

      And American Conservatives are now bashing him.

      December 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Bibbie

        Rush and Palin are nuts.

        December 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • needNewGov

        Being a right wing republican doesn't necessarily mean being spiritual. I think this Pope is too Christ-like for a lot of them.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:04 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.