December 17th, 2013
10:32 AM ET

Pope celebrates birthday with homeless men (and one cute dog)

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Pope Francis marked his 77th birthday on Tuesday by welcoming three homeless men to a Mass and a meal at the Vatican, according to Catholic officials.

The Pope wanted a "family" environment, with just a few top aides, the staff of Casa Santa Marta - the Vatican guesthouse - and the homeless men, one of whom brought his dog, the Vatican said.

(The Vatican originally said four homeless men joined the Pope's birthday celebration before revising the number late Tuesday.)

Afterward, the group sang "Happy Birthday" to Francis, and he invited everyone to eat  breakfast with him at the hotel's dining room, according to the Vatican.

The homeless men were brought by the Pope's aide in charge of charity, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who has been taking Francis' concern for the poor directly to the streets of Rome.

The Vatican's sharing of the Pope's birthday plans is sure to burnish Francis' image as "the People's Pope," a man who eschews pomp and ceremony, favoring small and intimate gatherings instead.

Francis has famously refused to live in the sumptuous papal apartment, picked out a used Fiat to scoot around Rome and dropped the fancy papal vestments and high theological language of his predecessors. Emphasizing his common-man roots, Francis said recently he was a janitor and a bar bouncer in Argentina before becoming a priest.

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

Perhaps as a birthday present to himself, the Pope, without going through the usual church channels, announced the canonization of a 16th-century Jesuit priest on Tuesday.

The Rev. Pierre Favre (known in the United States as Peter Faber) was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus, the Catholic order of priests to which Pope Francis himself belongs. Francis has praised Favre's "careful interior discernment" and "simple piety."

In September, the Pope used a similar process to announce the canonization of the late Pope John XXIII, who will officially be made a saint, along with Pope John Paul II, in April.

In the Pope's birthplace of Buenos Aires, where Francis was an archbishop,  Catholics are celebrating his birthday by pitching a "missionary tent" in one of the city's most troubled areas, where they will minister to migrants, prostitutes, the homeless and jobless, the Vatican said.

"God has always walked alongside his people," beginning with the Hebrew patriarchs, the Pope preached at Tuesday morning's Mass.

God became man at Christmas to redeem and share in the lives of saints and sinners alike - even "high-level sinners," Francis said.

Pope Francis: No more business as usual

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (624 Responses)
  1. Explain this to me

    Helping the homeless is everyone's responsibility not just the duty of a church here and there. The fact that there are homeless people tells me our society is broken.

    December 19, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • saggyroy

      I suppose he could open up the Vatican vaults and help even more homeless if he wanted to.

      December 19, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • Saraswati

      I agree when you are talking about a wealthy nation with large numbers of homeless. Every city in the world, however, has either some homeless of an agressive involuntary committment program for the mentally ill.

      December 19, 2013 at 6:11 am |
      • Saraswati

        You also have to be aware that the term 'homeless' does not mean a person is living on the street. Even people in very nice temporary state accommodations are counted as homeless by most demographics. Yes, it's a big problem, but even in the best regulated societies it's difficult if not impossible to eliminate completely.

        December 19, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • HotAirAce

      The fact that the RCC is still protecting child abusers and very few seem to care tells me our world is broken.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:16 am |

    Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Calhusker

      So where do you lay your head?

      December 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  3. Mossback

    Now here's one who walks the walk.

    December 18, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • saggyroy

      I give most of the credit to the boys in the Vatican Marketing & Sales Department. They have earned their xmas bonus this year!

      December 19, 2013 at 6:00 am |
  4. Dennis

    So much better than the youth Nazi.

    December 18, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • too funny

      all the same as this pope continues the cover ups.

      December 18, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • Calhusker

      Each of us are given different talents. God bless Pope Francis & Benedict.

      December 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  5. The homeless men were brought by the Poop's aide in charge of charity...

    The homeless men were brought by the Pope's aide in charge of charity and then promptly asked to leave after the party was over, relegated back to the street slums where they were found and dragged off to "feast" with the Poop.

    December 18, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Calhusker

      No other private organization on the planet feeds, cares, and hospitalizes more of the poor than the Catholic Church.

      December 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      • saggyroy

        ...or molests little kids, then covers up the crimes.

        December 19, 2013 at 6:04 am |
      • Saraswati

        Are you aware of any private organizations that have more members? This is just a product of size. It's like saying "no other country in the world provides more public education than China. So?

        December 19, 2013 at 6:18 am |
  6. "Francis has famously refused to live in the sumptuous papal apartment"

    SO – instead – they have to rent yet ANOTHER apartment for him, wasting even MORE of the Catholic Cult's blood money they suck from poor people to amass art treasures and real estate.

    December 18, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • too funny

      and they deny food to starving children, all to continue their wealth building

      December 18, 2013 at 7:16 am |
      • Calhusker

        No organization on the planet feeds and hospitalizes more of the poor than the Catholic Church.

        December 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Explain this to me

      They could house a few in the Vatican and in the churches. There is a building there is room for some.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • Saraswati

      lol....you do realise he lives in Vatican City, right? Where did you think they were "renting" this aparetment?

      December 19, 2013 at 6:02 am |
  7. And after the birthday party? THEY'RE STILL HOMELESS

    What – you think he was going to invite them to bunk with him in the Vatican?


    December 18, 2013 at 5:53 am |
    • too funny

      vatican is just looking for cash,, they'll leverage off anyone. It's a con organization of thieves.

      December 18, 2013 at 7:15 am |
      • Calhusker

        What have you done for the poor lately?

        December 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • saggyroy

          paid taxes

          December 19, 2013 at 6:05 am |
        • Tina

          Paying taxes is something that everyone does and is required by law to do. Have you fed the hungry with your excess, sacrificed time or treasure to help the needy, sat with someone who is dying, visited the sick or imprisoned? Taxes–pfft!

          December 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  8. Grateful Catholic

    Nice story! Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

    December 18, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  9. Dr. Dave

    Some relevant factoids on evolution – the underlying philosophy of the atheist’s worldview:

    1. Good websites:

    See my Short Course in Creation / Evolution, starting either at the beginning or at the article Probabilities vs. Impossibilities.


    Search through the archived articles on these sites.

    2. THERE IS NO THEORY OF EVOLUTION: Life is too complex for time, physics, and chance. Even if the whole universe were filled with amino acids, you couldn’t get one useful protein molecule in 30 billion years. Or DNA. Do the math. Also, from any kind (like reptiles) to another (like birds) requires the same mathematical impossibilities – WAY TOO MANY changes in the DNA. Also no theory for the first complete cell. Or from single cells to invertebrates, etc. Evolutionists have NO THEORIES, HYPOTHESES, SPECULATIONS, OR EVEN FANTASIES to address these problems.

    3. THERE IS NO FOSSIL EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION: The fossil record shows separate kinds throughout. All of the paleontologists’ ‘trees of life’ show fossils only at the tips of the branches and none at the branch points. Ergo, no evolution in the fossil record. Many creatures, like dinosaurs and dodo birds, are extinct. Extinction is death, not evolution. Reptiles (like dinosaurs) used to be bigger. Plants and insects used to be bigger and spread from pole to pole. The evidence shows that life is de-volving, not evolving.

    4. THERE IS NO TIME FOR EVOLUTION: Radioactive dating (plus hundreds of other methods) prove a “young” earth. Carbon 14, for example, has a short half-life, yet is found in coal and diamonds which are supposed to be hundreds of millions to billions of years old. For carbon 14 to be present, the age limit is thousands of years – it’s NOT POSSIBLE for carbon 14 to survive millions of years. So evolution doesn’t even rise to the level of science fiction.

    5. THERE ARE NO OBSERVATIONS OF EVOLUTION: Life always comes from life. No exceptions. In fact, humans come from humans, dogs from dogs, bananas from bananas. The variations within any kind have definite limits, which has been proven by many, many experiments over the last 150 years. The entire variation among humans on planet earth is just 2 tenths of 1 percent of our DNA. (And “racial” characteristics are only about 1/20 of that.)

    6. WHERE DO THE FOSSILS COME FROM? A worldwide flood, as recorded in Genesis: If it happened, what would you expect to find? Billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth. Guess what you find?

    December 17, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • N

      What unmitigated bullshit.

      December 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • business as usual

      talk about making stuff up. Hey,, you just created another bible

      December 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • too funny

      I wouldn't let anyone know who you are with that post. Especially your elementary teachers.

      December 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • doobzz

      "Dr." Dave, lol. What a crock of crapola.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      name Millions of years ago

      Cells with a nucleus 2,100
      Animals 590
      Vertebrates and closely related
      invertebrates 530

      Vertebrates 505
      Tetrapods 395
      Amniotes, 340
      Mammals 220
      Mammals that birth live young
      (i.e. non-egg-laying)
      Pl-acental mammals (i.e. non-marsupials) 125
      Supraprimates, bats, whales, most
      hoofed mammals
      , and most carnivorous mammals
      Supraprimates (primates, rodents, rabbits,
      tree shrews,
      and colugos) 100
      Primates, colugos and tree shrews
      Primates and colugos
      Primates 75
      "Dry-nosed" (literally, "simple-nosed")
      (apes, monkeys, and tarsiers)
      "Higher" primates (or Simians)
      (a-pes, old-world monkeys, and
      new-world monkeys)
      "Downward-nosed" primates (apes and
      old-world monkeys) 30
      A-pes 28
      Great a-pes (
      Humans, chimpanzees, bonobos,
      gorillas, and orangutans) 15
      Humans, chimpanzees, bonobos,
      and gorillas 8
      Genera H-omo and Australopithecus 5.8
      Contains only the Genus H-omo 2.5
      Humans 2.5
      Modern humans 0.5
      Fully anatomically modern humans 0.2

      December 17, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        The time line of human evolution:

        December 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Roger that


      December 18, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • Bucci

      God is the creator of life

      December 18, 2013 at 7:53 am |
      • Reality # 2

        And who then created your god?

        December 18, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • saopaco

      Just because YOU do not understand science does not mean that everyone else should live in ignorance like you do.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Dr Dave,I'm glad that you set us strait on the problem of evolution and the age of the earth. You must have spent a liftime reserching and studying to reach this conclusion. How did you manage to bury all the evidence to the contrary? We have fossil records that are proven to show just the opposit of what you speculate. Why are you affraid to see what your eyes see? It does not prove the Bible wrong. On the contrary, it validates it ,if you brawden you outlook and mind you will see that what is in front of you,I.E. evidence of an older world,4.6 billion years,does not threaten you beliefs but should strengthen them.

      December 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  10. mary

    why don't people believe in floods?

    December 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • JJ

      They don't? I can confirm that my basement flooded just this past Summer.

      December 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  11. mary

    why are people so mean? maybe they all worked together as bouncers back in BA, remembering old times...

    December 17, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • too funny

      why do the popes, cardinals and bishops deny children abused and with lost lives?

      December 18, 2013 at 7:17 am |
      • Calhusker

        Who's denying, the Church has paid big bucks. You're so full of hate.

        December 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  12. business as usual


    December 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • JDD

      Yes, you're right – it is "business as usual." The Archbishop has followed the rules of his own Archdiocese and immediately removed himself from active ministry until a new accusation can be evaluated by the authorities. This is in keeping with the policies established in cooperation with the proper law enforcement agencies.

      Significantly, he has done this even though commenters across the political spectrum think the claim is bogus.

      So, in that sense, it is not business as usual. Name one other leader of any organization who would immediately step aside at the first hint – any hint – of an accusation against him personally, by someone from years ago, supposedly taking place at a public event during a photo session with cameras everywhere.

      December 26, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  13. canuc

    you are a troubled individual-with deep seated hatred. believe it- god will even forgive you too!!

    December 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  14. RB


    December 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  15. Explain this to me

    Why are there homeless people when there is plenty of land and unoccupied homes?

    December 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • ?

      Don't be such a disingenuous twit.

      December 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • Explain this to me

        So you don't think all of society needs an overhaul? It seems glaringly obvious to me.

        December 19, 2013 at 5:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No explanations. Just take your religion and think happy thoughts.

      December 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • Explain this to me

        I'm the type to roll up their sleeves, happy thoughts only go so far.

        December 19, 2013 at 5:44 am |
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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.