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. Juan

    May God bless him everyday

    December 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Humans at their best

      it looks like he does. 🙂

      December 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  2. FT

    "If St. Peter ever needs help at the Pearly Gates, his successor Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job" ok cnn, the colbert report is funny, but trying to copy it just makes you irrespectible.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Stinky

      The only bouncing he did involved little boys on his lap.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • mark

      ir often takes many travels through this life before one figures out what life is all about. It was much easier of Peter since he knew Jesus the Christ personally but more difficult for us in these ages so far removed. keeping this in mind this pope he good man trying to fill Peter's legacy

      December 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  3. LouAZ

    Bouncer in a Nite Club ? Still is !

    December 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Humans at their best

    God I love this man.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  5. jennifer

    “The Roman Catholic Church, has become: like ‘the sinking oil tanker’, that has sunk to the bottom, spilling-out ‘black sludge’ everywhere. Because the spirit of theantichrist is so strong within that ‘collective organization of people’, then, they are ‘fully immersed’ in the ‘black waters’.”
    (-Jesus, Sunday, June 3, 2012)
    Testimony Of The Two Witnesses . Com ….there IS a COMET coming so it would be WISE to READ “Holy Water and the Sacraments”

    December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Looked at it Jennifer,didn't care for it.It just didn't ring true,too much about keeping the same old dogma and drudgery. I like this pope,he is a good man.

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


    December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  7. newscast

    CNN Catholic NEWS Network

    December 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  8. Phillip

    What's he going to claim next?

    Pope Francis: "I was Obama's son"?

    December 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • steve

      I was obama's son. So you were Obama's son and now your not? How does that work?

      December 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Humans at their best

      so what did you do with your daily bread since you obviously haven't digested it properly?

      December 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  9. children of Israel

    The Vatican calls itself St. Peter cathedral, is that a lie? *1st Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? (St. Mark 12:24 – 1st John 2:15)

    December 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  10. qwnsteph

    I am far from Catholic, but I have a lot of respect for this guy.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • jamie

      Thats exactly what I was thinking.

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

    That is the reason why he is the right pope. He can relate with people. There is nothing wrong in being a bouncert.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  12. rogercottonsr

    Good he has experience, he can start by bouncing all the pervert priests out of the Roman Catholic Church for a start. Let the priests marry and have a family and take a few drinks to boot! Then maybe people will have more "faith" in the Church.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • raw4mrw

      Apparently you aren't catholic. Priest can drink alcohol.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Patrick

      Here here! Agree completely. I'd take it a step further and allow gay marriage (or civil unions or whatever the hell you want to call it) in the church. No sure if you'd sign up for that or not, but I think it'd be a healthy thing.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  13. Nate

    ...at a GAY bar???

    December 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Brian Lenahan

      Now that would be news.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  14. Mary

    So the GOP think this man's stance on the poor is wrong??
    Do they?
    They tout being all about Christianity.. Yet they want to wage war on the poor….
    And too many people follow the GOP's view on caring for the poor the sick and the elderly..
    Greed, love of money, hating those less fortunate gotten to too many??
    I think so.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Dead bear

      The GOP hates him because he's basically telling them they're all going to Hell for the way they treat their fellow man.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  15. pbernasc

    I wonder ... was he doing the babes in exchange of passage into the night club? An investigation is needed ... we might a real man as head of the Church instead of some virgin dude

    December 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  16. Khadoomi

    We are struck by this Pope because of all what we have seen from the papacy in the past. They all should act like he does and he should not be seen as out of the norm. He actually makes Christianity the way it is supposed to be not the way the church has made it to be.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Brian Lenahan

      I think he is merely the latest of a long line of salesman/media-guy popes. The church actually needs to have a focal point to draw attention away from the fact that it is changing its party line yet one more time. Soon it will start allowing abortions, supporting gay marriage, women priests, and so on. Already it claims to support evolution.

      The unchangeable doctrine line is a great one to hide behind provided you can put up a smokescreen to hide changes behind when public pressure demands that you shift.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
      • steve

        The Catholic Church has always embraced evolution. Many Priests are scientists as well as theologians and understand how ridiculous creationism is.

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

          False, steve. Catholics haven't "embraced" evolution from the beginning. Claiming that is, well, way too much of a stretch. It has been more of a gradual and grudging acknowledgement at best, and still, there, exactly as in Brian the original commenter's note, the Catholic stance on evolution is still, well, evolving. So Brian, you are right on.

          Here's a link about this point: http://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/the-catholic-church-and-evolution/

          December 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  17. children of Israel

    Is the Vatican called St. Peter cathedral? (1st Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?) The Pope said don't judge what is evil *Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; *Revelation 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (American is Babylon being ruled from afar by the catholic church)

    December 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Squirrelyone

      St. Peter's is the name of the church. The Vatican is the larger complex and the city-state, also the name for the collective administrative offices (much like how we'll use the phrase Capitol Hill to include the workings of Congress and the rest of the government).

      December 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • steve

      Just say you hate the Catholic Church and be done with it. Bigotry is your right.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  18. children of Israel

    Are there Jewish people in Catholicism and in Judaism? When did Christ ever preach & teach religion to the world The Roman Catholic church, they chose to love their Popes as Greek gods. They hate Christ who is Hebrew an Israelite Jew from Judah, who is one of Jacob's sons. (Isaiah 65:9) Behold, the prophecies are here in these last days.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • NelsonLeonard

      Please do some research and stop spreading things that are not true. Catholics do not worship the Popes as"Greek gods" and, the silliest of all, Catholics hate Jesus Christ. Where do you get this stuff?

      December 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
      • rednip

        I'd say that Rush Limbaugh rotted his brain, but it seems even more confused, perhaps Glenn Beck?

        December 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      If you hate them, why shouldn't they hate you back?

      Religious bigotry is only ok when you do it?

      December 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • steve

      Since it's the last days can I have your car?

      December 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  19. khanam

    I like the new pope a lot – I am not even a christian but he strikes me as a gentle caring and honest person who is going to do good for humanity – wish all the religious leaders could take a page out of his book.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  20. tanker

    I'm an atheist, but if Rush dosen't like you, its a mark in your favor.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • khanam

      I have to agree with that

      December 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Damnright

      True that....

      December 3, 2013 at 8:51 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.