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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. VM Kurita

    I was a church going Catholic for many years but fell away. The best parts of my Catholic teaching was the realization that many very good people devoted their lives to others. This Pope seems to have a perspective that many can relate to. With his power and influence I do hope the world will see, including everyone not only Catholics, that humility and reverence of every person's life demands the respect and honor for this man – Pope. Francis

    December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      He's simply practicing the greatest commandment: LOVE

      Until we truly love the least amongst us, and love our enemies, we'll never fully understand just how much the Father loves us.
      For God SO LOVE the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
      Jesus came to SAVE to the world.

      December 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • tony

        Why would a god who could talk just about every virgin on the planet into surrendering her virtue, only bother to have just one son???

        It also made spreading the word a coupla thousand years too late for most of the rest of the world.

        Or it never happened. . . .

        December 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        such an infantile, fairy tale explanation of the world. it would be laughable if it wasn't so pitiful.

        December 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  2. scottw

    i'm not catholic, but i like this guy.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  3. Edward

    I love this Pope!

    December 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  4. JACK MATTHEWS

    MAN, THIS GUY ISN'T AFRAID OF SHARING ANYTHING, IS HE?

    December 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Jesse

    Pope of and for the people

    December 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • jim

      Yeah right. Instead of asking people to send money to the Philippines, he asked them to pray for them. Great way to not help!

      December 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • NelsonLeonard

        Jim, do some more research.

        December 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  6. Matthew

    This pope points people to himself instead of pointing people to Jesus Christ.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • NelsonLeonard

      According to "Matthew", not the saint, but just a guy with an opinion. I do not understand why you would say that though.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  7. Joe

    So the Pope, the Devil, and the Dalai Lama walk into a gay bar. The Pope says Yes I'll have a glass of Red Wine, the Devil says Yes I'll have a Flaming Dr Pepper, and the Dalai Lama says Yes I'll have a Pearl Milk Tea. The Pope looks up and says Who's up for sausages for horderves.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  8. William

    He was inspired to clean up the Vatican by reading - king of Bat'ha by Hashim; and sequel - Tales from the East by Ivanhoe.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  9. Barry G

    When Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son, he made it clear that God loves us and wants us to turn back to him, no matter how far we have strayed. So serious is God about this, that he would not spare the life of his only son, Jesus, in order to make it possible for any of us to return to him.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Alibaster Skin

      You don't know what Jesus said.

      All you have are words from a dusty old book that no one knows who actually wrote.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      how can you possibly speak about "what jesus said"?!?!

      The King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      So we don't even know if the jesus character existed, much less what he may or may not have said.

      Seriously?! Claiming that jesus said certain phrases is utter mind numbing nonsense, and yet you seem to base your belief on this! Your belief has more holes in it than swiss cheese! It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • josh

        There is more evidence for the life an teachings of Jesus Christ than most other personages outside of Italy, in the time period.

        December 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Alibaster Skin

          Well if it's slightly more evidence of the existence of a man outside of Italy in the 1st century who was born of a virgin, died for 3 days before resurrecting himself, then explained he only died because of "original sin" which is the idea that a woman ate magical apple given from a talking snake in a garden at the beginning of time which caused all humans to go to hell when they died.
          Only because the evidence leans more that way do you believe in Jesus and the story of sin. Yup, got it.

          December 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          delusional.

          December 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Chris

        Romans records confirm he was a real person and died the way the new testament claims. Your lack of faith is equally silly.

        December 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          yes, a temple rabble rouser who was crucified for being so outspoken. All the rest of the myth is pure fabrication.

          December 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • Alibaster Skin

          A real person? Who resurrected himself after 3 days? Amazing! And he died in the first place because...? Oh a talking snake told one of Adam's rib to eat a magical apple that will make you feel ashamed for being naked. At the begging of time. In a garden. Oh, and the snake had legs. And apparently vocal chords and a working Esophagus. Got it.

          December 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • ed17es

        We are in the year 2013 after who?

        December 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          meaning what you simpleton. what does that prove? the calendar was created by people in your cult.

          December 25th wasn't his birthday either. it is a pagan day. what a fraud your whole religion is!

          December 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Alibaster Skin

          Because Christians created the Gregorian calendar centuries ago and made up the phrase "in the year of our lord" it suddenly means that Christianity MUST be true?
          O thank you for showing me the light with your infinite wisdom! Can I get my doctorate at a Christian college?

          December 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Madtown

      the life of his only son, Jesus
      ---–
      I wonder why an omnipotent God would only be able to beget 1 son? Seems like he'd have as many as he needed, or wanted.

      December 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        there weren't many virgins around in those days.

        December 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
      • josh

        "as many and he needed or wanted"

        Does he need more?

        December 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • Madtown

          Does he need more?
          ---
          I guess only if he wanted to share his divine message with ALL his creation, instead of such a small subset in the Middle East. They must've been his favorites.

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

    Go Pope!

    December 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  11. bostontola

    I was impressed by this pope's story at first. I still prefer him over most other popes in my lifetime, but this media barrage is getting to be a bit much. I accept that the RCC is in competi.tion with other religions and sects of Christianity for souls, but it really seems over the top.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Alibaster Skin

      It seems "over the top" that the leader of a billion-dollar organization gets press time?

      Honey, money buys whatever you want whether it's good press, bad press for your enemies, lies about sky gods granting eternal life upon death if you blindly believe the writings of an old book, etc.

      Thankfully, common sense, literacy and critical thinking skills are free and can save one from the Christian's delusion.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        well said sir!

        December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  12. T Vines

    . The light of Faith: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. In John’s Gospel, Christ says of himself: "I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness" (Jn 12:46). Saint Paul uses the same image: "God who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts" (2 Cor 4:6). The pagan world, which hungered for light, had seen the growth of the cult of the sun god, Sol Invictus, invoked each day at sunrise. Yet though the sun was born anew each morning, it was clearly incapable of casting its light on all of human existence. The sun does not illumine all reality; its rays cannot penetrate to the shadow of death, the place where men’s eyes are closed to its light. "No one — Saint Justin Martyr writes — has ever been ready to die for his faith in the sun".[1] Conscious of the immense horizon which their faith opened before them, Christians invoked Jesus as the true sun "whose rays bestow life".[2] To Martha, weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus said: "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (Jn 11:40). Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets.
    ~Lumen Fidei

    December 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  13. wluv777

    Bigfoot is actually looking for him. He is the most interesting person in the world.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  14. What's the worst job you ever had?

    What's the worst job you ever had?

    December 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Poo Poo the real Pope Francis

      I'm the sole leader of a profitable organization, who regularly pretends to communicate with our dead leader, to give fake hope to my millions of followers. Honestly, why do I do this? Because my followers are weak and stupid, and I pity them. Without the "magic" of God, these fools would crumble.
      And that is why I continue the lie and take their money every Sunday.

      Thank you Christians...for lacking intelligence and independence.

      December 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  15. Daniela

    That is nice and all...but how about making some news with donating to the poor folks in the Philippines...

    December 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  16. Jimmy

    The Catholic chuck is wealthy.
    I say sell off some of those assest and help the poor.
    Put you money where your mouth is Mr Pope.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Daniela

      Amen!!!!

      December 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • God's fake

      sounds good in your head, but who's going to buy the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? not exactly a big market for second-hand gold crosses.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • Jimmy

        I sure they can scrounge around and find something to sell, even used Gold crosses are worth a lot.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • Akira

        I have the same thought every time suggests this.
        Most of the treasure of the Vatican are of the architectural, historical, and archaeological nature.

        December 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Whitney

      He is. He already took a bishops mansion and turned it into a soup kitchen. He has done much more. He's pretty much punked everybody and is actually doing good and fixing things. Such as accepting rather than judging.

      December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • Jimmy

        Soup kitchen, right, we already have lots of those.
        Let's scale that up quite a bit Mr Pope

        December 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • josh

      Most of the art "owned" by the catholic church was donated by the artist or commissioner for display. The church can't sell most of the artwork. But they do provide the most support to the poor of any charitable organization in the world already.

      December 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  17. John

    Better than Rush who has never had an honest job in his entire life.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  18. Dorkus Maximus

    Imagine, there could be people ought there able to boast that they were once punched out by the Pope.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • God's fake

      challenge accepted

      December 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  19. Jesus' Beloved

    The mission of the church is to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the Nations. I totally agree his cannot be accomplished within the confines of the Church. They have to go out and demonstrate the Kingdom, by Living the Kingdom (not just through words but through Power) to the nations: Heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead.

    Good for you sir- let's redeem the time, because the days are evil.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • tony

      Why can't god do that on his own??? You believe he can (and does) throw up bright visible rainbows as messages all over the world almost continuously when he wants to, without any church leaders, or missionaries, or the bible's help.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  20. Thought Purification

    I will take bar bouncer Pop over Hitler's Youth Pope anytime.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:45 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.