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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. Babak from LA

    I thought he looked familiar.....

    December 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  2. gustifer53

    My money is on the Pope. I honestly think he can beat the crap out of the drug addict Rush LIMPdick...

    December 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  3. Jason

    Pope Francis embodies goodness and the joy over him is for this reason. Clearly humanity loves goodness at their inner core and he is touching that chord. The real objective now is to not shower accolades on him, but to EMBODY goodness in our own lives such that we too wil be an inspiration to those observing and interacting with us.

    BE the change you desire.
    BE that which you adore.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      One of my co-workers puts little notes to himself on his workstation keyboard that say things like that Jason. Does it help or have you tried it?

      December 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  4. children of Israel

    The Romans killed Christ and created religions so all nations would follow them as Greek gods. See what they worship, that is heathenous. Gentiles sacrificing to devils. *St. Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. *St. John 11:47-48 Then gathered the chief priests, and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  5. Age of Reason

    ..arguing whether the Roman Catholic Church is the true church or full of pedophiles and marketeers or musketeers it is all a moot point but,the point is that this "JESUS CHRIST" did not exist and DO NOT believe in him!

    December 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Topher

      How do you know He didn't exist? Even many secular historians agree He did.

      December 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
      • Age of Reason

        ...."NO one knows if this Jesus Christ existed, and if he did, NOTHING is known about him!" Bertrand Russsell 1928

        "Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles are just a parody of the Sun God and the twelve signs of the Zodiac"
        The Religious Compilations of Thomas Paine

        ........and many others et al.

        December 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • Learn to Fish

          "et al and many others" ... thanks for the laugh, but seriously, you're wrong about whether Jesus existed.

          December 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
        • Will T

          Thomas Paine is hardly a reputable historical source. He was the Rush Limbaugh of 1776.

          December 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • Topher

          Plus, both Paine and Russell would have to have absolute knowledge to make those claims.

          December 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • Pastor Hairier Palms

          Bertrand Russell is responding to the fact that no one wrote about Jesus during the purported time during
          which he existed. Not even the Gospels.

          December 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • Topher

          Then Russell was completely wrong.

          December 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Topher

          Ignore my above post.

          December 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Why do you think Russell was wrong, Topher? What was written about Jesus during his lifetime?

          December 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • Topher

          Nothing was. I read it wrong. That's why I said to ignore it.

          December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Jesus the Christ or Jesus the unsuccessful reformer of Judaism?

        December 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • Age of Reason

          ..."I do not believe that this jesus christ existed, but if the French people wish to believe in him, I won't be against them!"
          Napoleon Bonaparte (after the retrievel of the Rosetta Stone in Egypt) as quoted by General Charles Dupuis

          December 3, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
      • Topher

        So your evidence is that some guy said so?

        December 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • sam stone

          How is that any different than YOUR evidence, Topher?

          December 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • sam stone

        As would you, Topher

        December 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  6. Journey

    Unbiblical nonsense...there are no bouncers in the New Testament.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  7. JJ

    I am dismayed at how many people, Christian and non-Christian, are falling for this guy. The cult he leads is still infested with pedophiles and is the most corrupt of all evil empires. You ex-Catholics who are thinking of going back to the cult are exactly what is intended by this scheme and you are falling for it like sheep running over the cliff.

    Frank might truly be a descent guy, and if so, won't last long before he gets poisoned by those who don't want to stop their free-reign of raping children with no repercussions.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Margaret

      I'm certainly willing to give him a chance to fix some of the problems in the church. His heart certainly seems to be in the right place and that's a good start.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Bob

      Cult? Exactly what do you belong to?

      December 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • dcase20

      If you believe this guy, your a sheep? Nice try, now back to Rush's teet.

      December 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • lulany

      Looking on the bright side though, if you have to have a church leader which is obviously the case here they could do a lot worst. And they certainly have..

      December 3, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • NelsonLeonard

      I almost think you were happy when it was discovered that the Catholic hierarchy did an abysmal job of dealing with pedophilia in its clergy because that gave you even more ammunition for your rants.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • steve

      Yup. a 2 billion member cult.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  8. Shine

    Oh let your little light shine
    Let your little light shine
    Shine on Wall Street and Vegas
    Place your bets
    Shine on the fishermen
    With nothing in their nets
    Shine on rising oceans and evaporating seas
    Shine on our Frankenstein technologies
    Shine on science
    With its tunnel vision
    Shine on fertile farmland
    Buried under subdivisions

    Let your little light shine
    Let your little light shine
    Shine on the dazzling darkness
    That restores us in deep sleep
    Shine on what we throw away
    And what we keep

    Shine on Reverend Pearson
    Who threw away
    The vain old God
    kept Dickens and Rembrandt and Beethoven
    And fresh plowed sod
    Shine on good earth, good air, good water
    And a safe place
    For kids to play
    Shine on bombs exploding
    Half a mile away

    Let your little light shine
    Let your little light shine
    Shine on world-wide traffic jams
    Honking day and night
    Shine on another asshole
    Passing on the right!
    Shine on the red light runners
    Busy talking on their cell phones
    Shine on the Catholic Church
    And the prisons that it owns
    Shine on all the Churches
    They all love less and less
    Shine on a hopeful girl
    In a dreamy dress

    Let your little light shine
    Let your little light shine
    Shine on good humor
    Shine on good will
    Shine on lousy leadership
    Licensed to kill
    Shine on dying soldiers
    In patriotic pain
    Shine on mass destruction
    In some God's name!
    Shine on the pioneers
    Those seekers of mental health
    Craving simplicity
    They traveled inward
    Past themselves...
    May all their little lights shine

    -Joni Mitchell

    December 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  9. Angel of Mercy

    Gotta love this Pope, not so much the Dope.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  10. This Pope sure Shines!

    "13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinth 11:13,14

    December 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  11. Badass Bible Birds

    We are bad, yet we love this pope! Kaw! Kaw!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  12. Rush Limbaugh

    This Pope may be preaching pure Marxism, but even I love this guy!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Rush Limbaughs liver...

      ...groan...

      December 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Vicki

      Teaching the message of Jesus is not Marxism or Socialism it is being a good person and being a good man.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  13. CS Lewis

    What do you really not know about me? I love this pope!!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  14. Dave Ramsey

    I may get a lot of things wrong about poverty, but even I love this pope!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  15. Joseph

    I have to take issue with the Pope being the successor to St. Peter. The Bible, and secular history, tell us that the Apostle John – the author of the Gospel of John (as inspired by the Holy Spirit) – was the last living apostle. (Peter had died before him.) Therefore, if a Pope is the successor to the Apostle Peter, after Peter died, a Pope would have had spiritual authority over a living apostle, since John was never the Pope. We know that that is not Biblical. In a word, it is error. Therefore, while a Pope might be a very godly man who is scriptural, and many have been, none have been Peter's sucessor and some have even been evil. They're just men and the papacy is just the bishop of Rome. Just like all men, with the exception of Jesus Christ, all Popes have sinned. Jesus Christ is the only perfect and sinless one who has ever lived, and that is why He alone is qualified to be the saviour of the world, Lord and King.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Lee

      Maybe you should go back and read the early church fathers, the men who learned the faith from the apostles and see what they have to say on this issue. As to pope's being sinners, yes that's true. Not sure I understand your point? All pope's go to confession to confess their sins like anyone else. Catholics believe the pope is infallible when he speaks from the "Chair of Peter". Which has only happened maybe twice in the last 200 years. We don't believe, like some protestants do about their pastors, that the spirit speaks through him during his sermons, etc.He is a man. The Catholic Church has always taught the Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, centuries before your church probably even existed. If it weren't for the Catholic Church you wouldn't even have your bible today. You're welcome

      December 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • Steve

        Well, you actually do believe that The Spirit speaks through the Pope when he speaks, "Ex Cathedra, ie From the Chair". Catholicism claims that this infallible spoken word of the Pope is equivalent to the Bible, The written Word of God, which was authored by the Holy Spirit. I guess that's (one reason) why I'm no longer a Catholic.

        December 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Rich

      If it makes you feel any better, Christ was just a man, too.

      December 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • NelsonLeonard

      After St. Peter, Linus (no, not Peanuts' Linus for you silly bloggers) was considered the Bishop of Rome and, hence, the Pope. St. Peter was Pope from 32AD to 67AD and St. Linus was Pope from 67 AD to 76 or 79 AD (not clear from the records). St. Anacletus was Pope from 76 to 88 AD. Who knows the situation with John? For one thing, he was to look out for Jesus' mother for a period and then maybe considered himself too old or infirmed (kind of like our last Pope) to lead a Church with its many challenges.

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

      And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it," (Matt. 16:18). Sorry no mention of John.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  16. JFK

    I really wasn't that Catholic, but even I love this pope!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  17. children of Israel

    Please tell the world, what names are written on the new covenant? The new testament (Hebrews 8:8) *And in the Torah, the old testament (Jeremiah 31:31) What names are written on the kingdom gates of new Jerusalem coming down to earth? (Revelation 21:12) *St. Matthew 6:10*

    December 3, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Speak Friend and Enter...

      "Mellon!"

      December 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • martiniano

      Do you still get support from your family or have you burned all your support network? I know it is difficult to be "special" without support. I feel for you.

      December 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  18. Angela

    Is it a bouncer's job to exclude people? Just asking.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  19. jerry2286

    At least he wasn't a Brownshirt like his predecessor.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  20. SurelyUjest

    I find it funny how so many Americans listen to a drug addled H.S. drop out (Rush L.) and think he even knows what Marxism is. So far Rush has been wrong about everything from womans reproductive rights, endangered species, climate change, how laws and bills are actually passed in congress, drugs, alcohol, gay marriage, marriage (what is he on now his 5th?) how a budet is passed, what our taxes actually pay for, what percentage of the debt is due to the unemployeed or poor folks, trickle down economics.......in fact I can only think of one thing he get's right day after day. His name?????

    December 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Mark

      He needs the announcer to even get that right. I've never seen a more hateful man, and what is worse, he shapes politics in this country.
      How scary.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:27 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.