January 8th, 2014
01:38 PM ET

Holy Hitchhiker: Pope gives pal a ride on the Popemobile

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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(CNN) - In yet another breach of normal papal protocol, Pope Francis on Wednesday gave a pal a lift on the world's most exclusive ride: the Popemobile.

According to Catholic News Service, the holy hitchhiker was the Rev. Fabian Baez, a priest from Francis' former Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, whom the pope spotted in the crowd at St. Peter's Square.

As he helped the priest onto the Popemobile, Francis told Baez, "The picture will go around the world,” CNS reports. The beaming priest rode around St. Peter's Square and was given a special seat at the Pope's speech to the crowd.

During the Pope's speech, he urged the crowd to remember their baptism.

"Many of us do not have the slightest memory of the celebration of this Sacrament, obviously, if we were baptized shortly after birth," Francis said. "It is important! It is important to know what day you were immersed in that current of salvation of Jesus!"

Baez later tweeted in Spanish, “I’m going to change my biography. The poor priest who got on the popemobile today with #PopeFrancis”.

Mark another point for the "Pope of the people."

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (585 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Starting to fear that the pope's love of mingling with the people is going to allow the wrong person to get too close to him one of these days.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • A dose of reality

      Huh...isn't GAWD watching out for him?????

      January 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • pay your taxes, leaches

      .....,instead of addressing those with destroyed lives,, this pope deflects..

      here are more of the catholic church's lies..

      The bishops paid John Jay college to write a study of clergy abuse in the catholic church. Data was to be gotten FROM THE BISHOPS for the report. Yes, from some of those who abused and all who covered it up.

      In the end, the Bishops presented this data as fact,, after all, it came from John Jay college a criminal justice college.

      Yet NO victims or families were asked to provide data, only from bishops. No information that this study was to take place. In the end, the bishops said "See. Even John Jay College states our abuses are within the norm." What a scam.

      Next, they need to prove that there are more abuses in public schools. Using their contacts, such a report was produced. This report surveyed students to find out if they have been abused. Surveyed.. meaning they were sought out. This report showed a high level of abuses. It included mostly STUDENT on STUDENT ,, yep, that's right. More so there were no pedo acts of so-domy where the child wasn't cared for. Report also included incidents as 'Mary, that's a nice dress you are wearing'

      On the other hand, the victims of the catholic church were NOT surveyed,, these were abused children who came forward on their own. Imagine how many if SURVEYED! And when a child was found out, the diocese threatened the child from telling while protecting the pedo.

      Most victims of the catholic church that came forward were sod-mized,, and 40% were of pedophilia.

      The bishops, cardinals and popes are con men,, deceiving and manipulative.

      January 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
  2. mainepotter

    This just in: The pope scratched his nose today.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
  3. Simon

    The link states: "Pope picks up hitchhiker on Popemobile", while the story states that the "Fabian Baez, a priest from Francis' former Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, whom the pope spotted in the crowd at St. Peter's Square". That's not what I call hitchhiking. He allowed his friend to ride along. The priest didn't have his thumb out, looking for a ride. I doubt that there are many hitchhikers in St. Peter's Square.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    staged for the photo op.

    his PR team are covering all the basics. Nice job.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • JDD

      When it's not photographed:

      Something good is reported -> "I'm sure it never happened."
      Something bad is reported -> "I'm sure it did happen."

      When it is photographed:

      Something bad is reported: -> "Yep, figures."
      Something good is reported: -> "Staged / pride"

      January 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  5. I wish all of the gods

    Would protect me from their followers.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • A dose of reality


      January 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
  6. dac

    This pope seems like a down to earth kind of man. My only wish is that he allows priests to marry. Until that happens we will continue to see a decline in priests. In my church alone there are 3 priests 2 of whom speak english very poorly. Here in the US they have to import priests from other countries. Not too many American men flocking to the priesthood.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • JDD

      "not too many American men flocking to the priesthood."

      Do a search for "10000 vocations" Here are some:


      January 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • George

      And now my Watch begins

      January 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Adam Leggett

      That is in part because Christianity has too many aspects of magic and makes no logical sense.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
  7. Tech N9ne

    This pope is too good to be true. It won't be long at all before an angry Christian tries to assassinate him because they have more faith in a book than god himself.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
  8. Sunflower

    well Pope can pull stunts like these on highway; he wasn't alone in that Popemobile; he was well protected by bodyguards.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • Ricky

      The pope used to take the subway, and then a bus, and then walked to a dangerous shanty town in Argentina, were he would visits priests that worked there. He did this alone once a month. I don't think he would be scared to pick up someone on the highway.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Sunflower

        he wasn't "pope" back then was he?

        January 8, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
      • Lauren

        The pope still to this day sneaks out in priests robes and feeds the poor of Rome. He does not live in the papal palace but in a regular vatican apartment like the other priests that serve the church.

        January 9, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  9. DustyOnes

    Pope Francis is a progressives worst nightmare.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • Ben

      How do you figure?

      January 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • Afrayedknot


      January 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • 9hydra

      What? He's a progressive himself.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
    • Bob

      I am kinda disappointed! I thought the article would say that the Pope was cruzing around Rome, and picked up a hitchhiker that he didn't know....now that would be impressive.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • raforrester

      I think of myself as progressive, and I think he is the best pope ever.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • Tech N9ne

      I believe the term you are looking for is conservative or traditionalist.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • Kay

        I'm a conservative/libertarian and I think he's a fantastic representation of what the Church, my Church, should be!

        January 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
    • Heddy

      I think you've got the parties wrong, sport. Progressives aren't the ones complaining.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
  10. CNN is now the Catholic News Network

    We should not say more.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  11. Bubba

    Who knew the Popemobile was a cab on the side? I guess they don't pay the Pope much since he has to get a second job. LOL

    January 8, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
  12. Jesus' Beloved

    Hi Daniel, it would be nice if you could include pieces on other believers who are Living the Kingdom and doing what was commanded of them- loving their neighbors as themselves, and in so doing, they are healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead.

    It's not very hard to find these people, they're all around you. They live normal lives and most are not seen on network or cable television, however they're making a huge impact on their communities and in nations around the world.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • Afrayedknot

      Who exactly is raising the dead??

      January 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • Fladabosco

        I'm in my fifitiies. Sofia Vergera does it for me.

        January 9, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • dac

      I think you went off your meds again.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • cnimnicht2013

      People are raising the dead?!? My God! Why aren't there news stories about that?

      /end sarcasm

      January 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • G to the T

        It's amazing with as many people that have supposedly been brought back from the dead in the bible and other christian legends that anyone still believes that Jesus coming back from the dead was as big a deal as they do.

        January 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  13. Lawrence of Arabia

    Since this pope keeps "breaching protocal," why doesn't he go all out and teach the 5 Solas of the Reformation?

    January 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • Scott

      At this rate he just might. If he were to do that, then he'd end up like John Paul I.


      January 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        John Paul 1 taught reformed theology?

        January 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Meaghan

          Nope, John Paul I died quite suddenly and there've been many rumours about poison being used.

          January 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • Joe

      The pope is simply following the teachings of Christ, and is faring very well! 🙂

      January 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Except for the part about justification following sanctification, veneration of Mary and saints, purgatory, indulgences, treasury of merit, tradition + scripture...

        I think he'd do well to read "The Inst.itutes of the Christian Religion."

        January 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Joe

          Catholic charities do far better than any other, when was the last time your church focused itself on being charitable?
          Faith, hope and love–the greatest of these is .....?

          January 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • TXZag


          January 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Kay

          We honor Mary for the fact that she gave birth to Jesus, and we think they saints are cool because they are people who are close to God in heaven. That's about it on that part. We don't worship any of them- they have no power unless given by God. Whats wrong with that?

          January 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Lauren

          Hey Lawrence.. Catholics long stopped believing in Purgatory and Indulgences. Your old biases and ignorance are showing. Catholics venerate Mary and the Saints because they said yes to God's plan without thought of personal gain or discomfort, including death. Is it so bad to have St Francis or St Elizabeth as an individual to emulate your actions after rather than Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber? Mary said yes to God regardless of the fact that she faced being ostracized or honor killed according to Jewish laws of the time. How many times in the life of a Christian in these times do your major decisions require prayer? Is it wrong to ask not only God the father, and Jesus his son for guidance but also the Mary and the Saints ?

          January 9, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • Robertson

        And they know we are Christians by our love....Catholic/Protestant– who cares, as long as a person has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

        January 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Who cares? Having a proper Christology is a pivotal part of Biblical Soteriology.

          January 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Joe

          Biblical Soteriology?

          Keep the focus on Christ all else fades in comparison.

          January 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • Fladabosco

        Other than the things he's not following. First of all he's unbelievably wealthy. He has his own country! He has the world's finest artwork, is the head of the largest real estate empire the world has ever know and drives around in a custom made, bomb-proof Mercedes.

        When did Jesus say that priests can't marry? Have you read the Just War Doctrine, in which the church justifies its support of war? I seem to remember the bible being full of admonishment not to pray to idols. Have you ever been to a Catholic church? There are statues and figures all over the place, with places to kneel down in front them (and usually with some form of payment.)

        If he really wanted to follow what Jesus said he'd be championing pardons instead of capital punishment, selling his Da Vincis and manions and velvet robe and use the money to feed the poor.

        January 9, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  14. Hex

    The pope mobile....ultimate exercise in faith....NOT. Seriously though, this just make me laugh when I see it. A many of faith using the science of bullet proof glass to protect himself from death.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • Fred

      Faith in Religion and Faith in humanity are surely not the same thing, are they? To me, faith that everyone out there has a good heart seems more stupid than a show of faith.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Ricky

      If you look at the video you will see that the popemobille that this pope uses is completely open on the sides. No glass at all.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • 2Sliqq

      If I'm not mistaken, I think this Pope had the glass removed.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • JDD

      Glad to make you smile, Hex. Others have already mentioned that the bulletproof glass is actually gone. If it did remain, would you say there is a difference between a world leader protecting oneself from death vs. protecting oneself from assassination attempts?

      Would, say, the President of the United States using bulletproof glass be another joke?

      January 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
  15. mindstorms

    I am not a Catholic but this Pope certainly is a breath of fresh air when compared to some of the stiff necked religious leaders in this world. He seems to be a genuinely nice person.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Landru

      Well said Mindstorms. More "Nice people" is exactly what this world needs. It seems you can't even leave a comment these days without someone responding with insults. More nice people please.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
    • Kay

      I would think that most of the previous Popes were "nice" people too- they had different styles, that's for sure. I, as a practicing Catholic, do think that the Church sometimes gets too caught up in rules instead of loving people. That's NOT to say that the doctrines of the Church are flexible, because they are not. But there is a very big difference between the Church Doctrines that are unchangeable, and the teachings that are flexible and should be. Its important to have an understanding of the differences between doctrine and teachings though, as they are not the same thing.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
  16. Kiska K

    I'm loving this and this pope!
    Keep on truckin', Francis.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Tutuvabene

    Francis wasn't exalthing himself in saying "The picture will go around the world.” He was simply acknowledging the truth that the papacy attracts wide attention. The Pope is a guy who likes to have fun in his work. Too bad more folks can't say the same.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • Angela Roberge


      January 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  18. NYVeteran

    A real human being, not caught in the trappings of office. He spotted a friend and gave him a ride. This man humbles me and makes me want to be less cynical. With men like him and women like mother Theresa, what chance do we have? He is comforting the afflicted, and more importantly he is afflicting the comfortable. You go Francis!

    January 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • doobzz

      Wow, you need a pope to show you how to treat your friends? Maybe so, since you didn't give Finley Peter Dunne credit when you quoted his work.

      Also, you should read a bit more about Mother Teresa. She's not the saint most people think she is.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • JDD

        Indeed I agree – read all of Mother Teresa's writings – as much as possible.

        January 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • doobzz

          Like when she told a dying woman that her pain was a blessing from God and "kisses from Jesus"?

          To which the woman replied, "Please tell Jesus to stop kissing me."

          January 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • JDD


          "Like when she told a dying woman that her pain was a blessing from God and "kisses from Jesus"? To which the woman replied, "Please tell Jesus to stop kissing me.""

          Yes, absolutely – find that quote, read the whole thing in context, and remember a few important points:

          What Mother Teresa actually said is a little different from your quote. She said that pain means you are close enough to Jesus for him to kiss you.

          Mother Teresa then proceeded to care for those in pain.

          We all cry out for pain to cease when we are in the midst of it.

          So keep reading. By the way, here's one place to hear that quote – google "Mother Teresa on suffering firing line interview" for an extended discussion of suffering with William F. Buckley Jr. on "Firing LIne"

          January 9, 2014 at 1:23 am |
  19. doobzz

    "As he helped the priest unto the Popemobile, Francis told Baez, "The picture will go around the world,” CNS reports,..."

    So much for his much vaunted humility.

    January 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      He probably thought it was funny.

      It doesn't make him vain.

      Either way, he was right.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • doobzz

        Maybe not, but as a recovering Catholic, I'm not quick to buy into the humble routine.

        January 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Kay

          There is no such thing as a recovering Catholic. That's ridiculous. Youre either something or you aren't. Just say you "used to be Catholic and no longer are". Catholicism is not a disease you recover from. Its a faith.

          January 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • doobzz

          You're not used to smiling much, are you?

          January 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • raforrester

          Kay, a recovering Catholic is one who has left the faith but is still suffering from the fear and guilt that is the psychological legacy of the way children are treated. With luck and therapy, that can turn to recovered Catholic, and finally just non-Catholic. That is where I am now.

          January 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • doobzz

          Thank you. That was perfect.

          January 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • raforrester

          You're welcome. Take care.

          January 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm |
        • doobzz

          You too.

          January 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I understand, but constrast this guy with his predecessor. Actions do speak louder than words, even if you think they are just hollow gestures.

        Benedict never did or said anything like Francis is prepared to do and do often.

        January 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • JDD

          Please do a search for "benedict meets privately with victims"

          January 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Why did it have to be in private?

          January 8, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • doobzz

          "I understand, but constrast this guy with his predecessor."

          That's like saying Joe Biden is an improvement over Dick Cheney.

          January 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • JDD

          "Why did it have to be in private?"

          Laugh Out Loud !!! Frankly, because the subject matter was private!

          Boy, this is really vindicating my analysis of comments:

          Private meeting with victims = secretive / shady.
          Public act of friendship = not humble enough.

          January 9, 2014 at 1:16 am |
    • SCBAMA

      Come to know the glory of Christ my son and the hate for others that is eating you up inside will leave you body. The urge you have to post comments on the internet denying my existence will simply go away. I will pray for your soul.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
      • doobzz

        What about your urge to post comments on the internet? Your urge didn't go away, now, did it? I guess your prayers aren't working too well.

        The fact that you take any sort of criticism of the pope as "hate for others" shows how insecure you are in your own beliefs.

        January 8, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • Grow up

      Im willing to bet you're one of those vehement atheists, or at least have extreme anti-catholic sentiment. Nothing regarding the pope will ever please you.

      Have you ever considered that the simple priest from Argentina might be excited to have his picture all over international news? and Francis realized that would be not an ordinary day for that priest?

      January 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • doobzz

        I'm willing to bet you make assumptions about people.

        January 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • Just reading

      hmmm... why negative right off the bat? Must be depressing all the time to always have to see negative first. I took it as he was warning his friend that he will get attention. As a person who doesn't like being in that much of the spotlight – I would have appreciated the reminder as I got caught up in the moment and forgot. I like this guy – this comment goes to show that he stops and thinks of others first to take into consideration their feelings and allows them to decide before just thrusting them into the news to make himself look good because of who he is.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • doobzz

        "Must be depressing all the time to always have to see negative first."

        And I guess you know how I think all the time.

        January 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • Just reading

          You sure are spending a lot of time defending yourself on this board.... must have to do that a lot and gotten used to it. Sorry must get tiring. So "all the time" is probably an exaggeration but apparently "a lot" is not

          January 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • doobzz

          No, it's just the pope's fanboys don't like it when someone doesn't agree with them.

          A lot? You assume a lot, I know that.

          January 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
    • 2Sliqq

      What he spoke was a FACT to his friend. He was essentially telling him "You know, your face is going to be all over the planet because of this!"

      If you seek the negative, you will ALWAYS find it whether it's there or not.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • doobzz

        I know it's a fact. So?

        And you know what I seek exactly how? That's right, you don't.

        January 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
    • JDD

      When it's not photographed:

      Something good is reported -> "I'm sure it never happened."
      Something bad is reported -> "I'm sure it did happen."

      When it is photographed:

      Something bad is reported: -> "Yep, figures."
      Something good is reported: -> "Staged / pride / not humble"

      January 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • doobzz

        Got it all figured out, have you? Goody for you.

        January 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • JDD

          It's a model that represents the pattern of comments with a high degree of accuracy.

          January 9, 2014 at 1:10 am |
        • doobzz

          Sure, bud.

          January 9, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    After a couple of atheist and "satanist" topics we're back to the Pope Francis channel.

    January 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I do have to admit that he does keep the papacy interesting. A real vaticano zephyr.

      January 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
      • Chitown Wendy

        That he does.

        January 8, 2014 at 1:59 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.