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. BabylonTheGreat

    look at his eyes, the Pope is a demon.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      You can only tell how a person is by their heart... not by outward appearance. (Here lies Wisdom)

      December 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  2. Jesus' Beloved


    Last I checked, NOBODY has been "born again". We all come out the birth canal once, and only once. Maybe one of the reasons why the Christian church is going extinct is because religion always has to speak in metaphors–

    How did you check?
    Can you see outside the "Optical Range" of the Magnetic Spectrum.... There's a lot you don't see... or hear... that doesn't mean they don't exist.
    Can you hear radio signals without the aid of a receiver and transmitter?

    December 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • venividivici

      'There's a lot you don't see... or hear... that doesn't mean they don't exist.'

      It doesn't mean that they exist either.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      • Jesus' Beloved

        It means they EXIST. You just can't perceive them with your natural eyes and ears.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Commenter

      The thing is, you don't get to make stuff up and call it real.

      Do you believe in Scientology's "auditing" machine?

      Do you believe in the power of crystals, gems and pyramids?

      December 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  3. popefrancistheloved

    Man, I love this guy. He's so real and I really think he is changing things for the better.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  4. Jesus' Beloved

    How did you check?

    December 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  5. jleoxii13

    I love this guy.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  6. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    A Marxist bouncer. I'm still not converting.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Is that because there are still plenty of open seats in the the Texas brand of the later day Tea Baggers?

      December 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • Mark

        Rush drives his narrative.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • SurelyUjest

          I know, I was trying to get a laugh.

          December 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
        • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

          What leads you to believe that, other than a failure to apply Occam's Razor and your own regionalist & political prejudices?

          December 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
      • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

        I'm not from nor do I reside in Texas. Joke's on you, princess.

        But it's nice to see how blithely you display your bigotry without hesitation or provocation. Sux to be you.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Nick

      It is entirely unsurprising that a conservative from Texas would have no idea what Marxism is. Stop parroting Rush Limbaugh, it is obvious you have no idea what you're talking about and are just attempting to appear educated and disdainful.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

        "It is entirely unsurprising that a conservative from Texas would have no idea what Marxism is. Stop parroting Rush Limbaugh, it is obvious you have no idea what you're talking about and are just attempting to appear educated and disdainful."

        Confused as to whom your comment was meant for. You apparently meant to reply to someone elses post. If you're calling me a conservative w/o knowing anything about me (google my name) you're only revealing yourself to be the gormless berk that you are. Cheers.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  7. Reality # 2

    Francis still cannot come to grips with the error-filled theology and history of Christianity and therefore his flock will continue to diminish in numbers as will the monetary support.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Topher

      Errors like what?

      December 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Let us again start with the big one:

        Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

        From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

        Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

        To wit;

        From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

        "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
        Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

        Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

        Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

        The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

        Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

        The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

        "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

        The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

        With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

        An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


        "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

        p.168. by Ted Peters:

        Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

        So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          And to again be fair to all parties:

          Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

          • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

          • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

          • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

          • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

          • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

          • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

          • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

          • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

          Added details available upon written request.

          A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

          e.g. Taoism

          "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

          Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

          December 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      I would much rather see the Catholic church run by a person who has a connection to real people than rich pontifs who take the hat, chair and ring too seriously. I would hope all organized religions will one day take their rightful place in the home rahter than in some big rich mosque, temple, church, catheral, etc......I will never wish ill upon this pope though. He seems like a breath of fresh air for a religion that is sorely past due some fresh air.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  8. children of Israel

    The Pope is calling himself a saint, why? Does the Pope judge Satan as an angel of light? *1st Corinthians 6:2-4 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

    December 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Mark

      He is not calling himself a saint. Do you think breaking the 8th Commandment will please God?

      December 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Phyllis

      The Pope isn't calling himself a saint. The article is making a little joke.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      I dont think he ever called himself a saint in this article where are you getting your information for this rant?

      December 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  9. John

    Not that I will return to Catholicism, but religion certainly needs him to live a long time. Let's hope that he lasts into his nineties, odds aren't good. Hopefully he will make the Catholic Church more responsive to the times, and complete some of the work of John XXIII. An evening with Francis and the Dali Lama might lead to the best discussion of the place of religion in hundreds of years.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  10. PD Gupta

    Pope Francis is on the right track. The Catholic Church is to be more inclusive in order to fluorish in the future. There is no need and or pressure for any type of conversion before a person decides to attend his or her local Catholic Church. Everybody should be Welcomed! No question about gender preference should ever be asked. Every person must have right to leave and or join the Catholic Church without any fear of persecution. People like Rush Limbaugh should be left alone and ignored by everybody who believe in God and Jesus Christ. Life is beautiful. Politics is dirty!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • BabylonTheGreat

      You just totally contradicted yourself. You must definitely be a Catholic.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  11. Mark Spencer

    A pope who was once a bouncer—I love it! That's my kind of pope.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • baffledbyyourignorance

      I'm not a religious person but I think this is great... The pope is a bad *ss. I hope he roughed up some drunken hooligans & threw them out on the street.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Julia Nwakor

      Me too 🙂

      December 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      A Marxist one no less.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
      • Mark

        He isn't.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

          I'm stating that as a positive.

          December 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  12. luke,AZ

    The Pope is letting Limbaugh(the college dropout) know not to mess with him. Now the Pope will beat Limbaugh with prayer.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Wouldn't that be like beating someone with a wet noodle?

      December 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • No one

        For these people, they are allergic to noodles.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • luke,AZ

        Prayer is quite powerful even in small doses.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  13. schung

    Hallelujah, at least His Holiness made me read and even post comment here, which is a never before. Bless all ye souls.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  14. StormySyndrome

    All of the world's problems started with a lie. It festered through the many many thousands of years, and here we are today.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Yukon Cornelius

      What lie is that? There were no problems in the world before this so-called lie?

      December 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Western Iowa Bacon Caserole

      Hey, kind of like how you stared. I'm wearing a condom honey, I promise . . .

      December 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Topher

      Exactly right. The lie by Satan in the garden.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Fr33th1nk3r

        Ah, you refer to your cute little fable about talking snakes, talking trees, and a mythical place called "Eden". How charming.

        December 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • areyouforseriousmyboy

          You speak on matters of faith when having none. Ironic.

          December 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • Nick

          Apparently, according to 'areyouforseriousmyboy', all you have to do is believe something to suddenly be an expert on that topic. And don't you dare speak about something you don't believe, because you aren't qualified to simply because of the fact that you don't believe! Don't believe there is a flying spaghetti monster? Don't bother talking about it, because you're only qualified to talk about it if you DO believe. What a moron.

          December 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  15. lgt

    who gives a rats ass

    December 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  16. Lone Ranger

    Ah yes…once Francis was a bar bouncer and now he’s the gay-is-not-a-sin-pope
    And when he arrives at where God’s going to send him…he will not need the soap !!!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Mark

      He never said that; do you think breaking the 9th Commandment will get you closer to God?

      December 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Nick

      Yes, I am sure 'god' (there isn't one) will side with a tea bagger over the pope. If ever there was a political movement exclusively for sociopathic idiots with delusions of grandeur, the tea party would certainly be it.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  17. St Bob

    Also Rush is exactly right, it's called "the social gospel" man made term and not biblical.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Mark

      Rush pretends he's Christian. How do you reconcile this?
      Are you denying that Jesus was social, and didn't have the disadvantaged at heart?

      December 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • baffledbyyourignorance

      Rush is an *diot loudmouth jerk. Anyone who likes him falls into the same category.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  18. Itwasthebestoftimes

    If Harry Reid, a boxer, can pontificate, I suppose the pontiff could have been a bouncer.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • baffledbyyourignorance

      Harry Reid was a boxer? I would have to think that his boxing career didn't last to long.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • itwasthebstoftimes

        Even I was astonished to discover that U.S. Senate Majority Leadership is currently the last sanctuary for an MD who willfully subjected his head to consensual, systematic head trauma.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  19. St Bob

    Disagree, the problem with the visible church today is that it is full of lost people (religious but lost) no effective power because they have never been born again, the work of the Holy Spirit only, any good orthodox theologian would also tell you that the Pope has no more authority than a true believer, Hebrews tells us that every believer is a Priest and go straight to God without a mediator.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Mark

      No true Scotman is tired and trite.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Last I checked, NOBODY has been "born again". We all come out the birth canal once, and only once. Maybe one of the reasons why the Christian church is going extinct is because religion always has to speak in metaphors– it offers young people no answers that apply to the 21st century or that fit any verifiable facts.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Evelyn Connaway

      They are right, not just the Hebrews, but everyone has to travel that road alone. No one can make that trip for you or do it for you, your salvation is between you and God.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  20. PJ

    He is a breath of fresh air to people around the world Christian and non-Christian. The only folks who dislike him are the biggots and hypocrits.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:40 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.