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. Cyril

    By this point I'd only be impressed if the 'hitchhiker' had cholera and the pope, to show Christian love, gave him a big kiss on the lips. Otherwise, it's getting a bit mundane.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
  2. gem26

    Why would the pope say," this picture will go around the world," sounds like PR to me, Rev Baez just got played.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • Steven Reiley

      I think he meant to Argentina as that is where the priest was from. This Pope seems like the real deal to me. I like him and I plan to give him a chance.

      January 8, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
  3. Dan

    So it was not actually a hitchhiker. Fooled by a CNN headline again.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  4. xirume

    I guess the Vatican vultures haven't killed this one yet because it's no use. According to the prophecies of Irish Saint Malachy and a few other soothsayers, this will be the last pope of the Catholic Church, as the end of the world will take place during his tenure. Makes everything easier, doesn't it?

    January 8, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
  5. KG1

    I'm a humanist atheist and I like this guy. He seems to understand that being a good person is the most important thing, no matter what the reasons behind that may be.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
    • hobosghost

      Well said.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  6. boger

    That's BULLSHlT.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • It's me!

      I thought I smelled you in the room...

      January 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  7. Mr C

    Look at meeeeee.......I'm sooooo humble

    January 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  8. tony

    If being and behaving like the pope becomes church policy, then the church will improve.

    OTOH, even rich charities can't afford to help everyone who needs it. That's why civilied countries have goverments that are partly socialist in the way they treat their unfortunate citizens.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  9. nonya

    GOD bless you all 🙂

    January 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
  10. haddock

    Francis is my favorite Saint and I think this guy is my favorite Pope. What a breath of fresh air.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
  11. NH80

    What a terrible headline. And a cool Pope.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  12. Chef Sun

    The priest was NOT a hitchhiker. CNN needs a dictionary.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bob60441

      OK, which language?

      January 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
  13. NorCalMojo

    These stunts are getting old.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • That's What Jesus Would Do

      Stop being intrigued by them!

      January 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
  14. emskadittle

    i really don't understand how people can say that cnn shouldn't be putting out stories like these, you do undstand that 25 percent of the us population is catholic don't you

    January 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • Tallus Rip

      20% of the country is non religious or outright atheist. You don't see us getting special treatment for it.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
  15. Crystle

    Im not christian at all...but I like Pope Francis. He reminds me of the good days with Pope John Paul.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • David Stern

      was just thinking exactly the same.... good I guess....lol

      January 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
  16. Yellow#5

    I'm convince this new Pope is nothing more than a carefully crafted PR campaign by the RCC. Thor knows they certainly need it.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bruno

      Even if your absurd conspiracy theory were true, what's wrong with a likable religious figure head that provides a decent example and retrains people's focus on what's actually important?

      January 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • G to the T

        This is a rebranding. He has not made a single significant change to church policies.

        January 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • MoodyFoodie

      They do need to rebrand themselves a bit. If it all PR at least they've chosen someone who's a better example of what a Christian is supposed to be.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • Michael J.

      You're a moron.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  17. Bob

    They see me rolling....they prayin'.....tryin' to catch me ridin' Holy....tryin' to catch me ridin' Holy....tryin' to catch me ridin' Holy...

    January 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
    • MoodyFoodie

      He's so cool he'd probably lol too.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
  18. Seanne

    I love this POPE, all humility and sincerity!

    January 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • Moonraker

      What a weird headline – this was hardly a "hitchhiker". Let me know when he picks up a hitchhiking homeless person.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • Kinoeye

        How about when he invited a couple of homeless out of the cold and into the Vatican to share a meal and companionship with him on his birthday? Just a decent man, with no argument. Reminds me of the priest in the first chapters of Les Miserables. That character was also a genuine, loving man – yet there were still the cynical voices in town that insisted he must be corrupt because he was religious.

        January 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • tony

          What happened to other 5,000 local homeless people that night?

          January 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
  19. lewtwo

    CNN will evidently publish anything released by the Vatican PR department as headline news - regardless of of its relevance.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • d

      Which is odd because of how liberal CNN is. Since they usually jump all over religious figures to talking about their faith, it puzzles me how much they seem to love this religious leader.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • SkepticalOne

      What do you expect to find in the religion section?

      January 8, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  20. Reality # 2

    And Francis said: "It is important! It is important to know what day you were immersed in that current of salvation of Jesus!"

    Talk about being brainwashed !!!

    January 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • Seanne

      betcha, ur brainwashed by you mom too

      January 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Indeed but then I grew up and investigated all the claims. One of many results:

        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.

        January 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
    • Bruno

      No more than any other religion. From their perspective, baptism is an essential rite. When you look at it from another perspective, unbelievers are the weird ones. We provide no answers and no hope. It's very "human" to seek out something beyond ourselves.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • Tony Misook

      Telling the truth ain't brainwashing!

      January 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Tech N9ne

        No it's not, but claiming that a complete guess is the truth would be a lie.

        January 8, 2014 at 4:02 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.