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. Fan of Pope

    The Pope can just ask God every morning: Will I be hurt today by a random person if I go outside?

    Then God will say Yes or No. If God says Yes, then he can go out and do whatever he wants.

    If God says "No" then the Pope can stay home. It's good to be Pope and have direct access to God.

    I'm a Catholic and it's definitely the One True Religion. Anyone can become a Catholic. Just google the local churches and go to one and meet new people!!!

    January 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • One one

      Right ! The one true religion. Just like the other tens of thousands of religions.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
      • JDD

        "Right ! The one true religion. Just like the other tens of thousands of religions."

        This simply doesn't logically follow. "There are many, therefore none could possibly be true."

        January 9, 2014 at 12:49 am |
        • G to the T

          Well, they cannot all be true, but they certainly can all be wrong. Just saying...

          January 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
  2. Burbank

    This guy is as bad as Sarah Palin, Kim Kardashian, Trump. He will do anything to stay in the spotlight and draw attention to himself. If you are really humble, you don't have to keep showing off with all this drama.

    January 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • mark

      It is a visible example to followers of how to treat others. was JC being a show off when he healed in front of hundreds? even if it was staged, the fine example is now viral for all to c. the result wud trump the intent.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
  3. mark

    this guy seems to be right on the money. human and holy, and i mean what is good in a human. watch and FOLLOW people.

    January 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  4. Burbank

    I wish people would use a little critical thinking. These are staged publicity stunts. Too many incidents, too much drama and "theatrical grandstanding". They fired the old pope and "hired" him to increase membership and improve the church's very badly damaged image. The damage was well deserved for many good reasons. That's why all the grandstanding and showing off how humble he is. If you are truly humble, you aren't engaging in showing off with it all the time.

    January 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      He's not showing off, the media is.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
    • mark

      what do you gain from degrading an act of kindness initiated by a person followed by millions? are u gonna blow us away with ur insight? you need to move to CO.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • Bill Marvel

      These are "staged." And your actual evidece, Burbank?

      January 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • goddog

      I agree. The message is still the same. Only the tone has changed. How humble to give his friend a lift in his $1,000,000. Pope-mobile. wow...

      January 8, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
      • JDD

        Right – to do the truly Christ-like thing, he should have kept on driving... sheesh.

        January 9, 2014 at 12:51 am |
  5. Reality # 2

    Francis, I am making your day: Read and learn, the PR days are over:

    Saving Christians like yourself 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 6:54 pm |
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      Try to stay on topic for once.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        It is on topic as it directly addresses Francis wasting his time on photo shoots.

        January 9, 2014 at 12:18 am |
    • mark

      very well written. not convincing, but well composed.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        So where are the bones?

        January 9, 2014 at 12:19 am |
    • JDD

      I was wondering when you were going to cut and paste this today. As has been noted before, professors in Catholic colleges not actually teaching Catholicism isn't really that new.

      It's the ones that actually believe that what they're teaching is true that are far more interesting to listen to. Let people who are convinced of what they're speaking about make their best case.

      Drs. Scott Hahn and Peter Kreeft are two contemporary examples, and easily readable.

      Chesterton and C.S. Lewis of course bring some good conversation to the table.

      January 9, 2014 at 12:56 am |
  6. DianaLMN

    This pope seems to be humble and humility is a good thing in God's eyes.

    January 8, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • truth for all

      yes.. "look at meeeee! I'mmmmm hummmble."

      Good PR. Not god person

      January 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • One one

      Really ? How do you know that ?

      January 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
  7. PacoAteMiami

    Breaking News: Pope takes part-time job at Cinnabon

    January 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
  8. JD

    I have been out wandering
    I have traveled far
    One conclusion I have made
    Is God don't own a car
    - Jimmy Buffett – God Don't Own A Car

    January 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
  9. Not good PR or morals for the church ?

    The pope had said who was he to judge – this priest got fired !


    January 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Prema

    Pope Francis Rocks!

    January 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
    • goddog

      If there were a Jesus as described in the bible, he would be viewing the Catholic church in the same way that he viewed the Pharisees. Read Mathew 23. Do Catholics read their bibles?

      January 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • goddog

      Mathew 23:4-7 ~ 4 They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. 5 Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels for everyone to see. 6 They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. 7 And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
      • Bible Teacher

        Very true. Today the churches of Christendom are perpetuating mistakes made in the past and are reaping the effects. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Jesus foretold a great apostasy, or falling away from the true faith, by counterfeit Christians who would spread false Christianity. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43; 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8) And as foretold by the apostles, many counterfeit Christians wormed their way into the fold. (Acts 20:29, 30; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1-3)

        Rather than be reformed, Christendom's religions are to be gathered and destroyed. (Matthew 13:30, 39) ) As was true in the case of the people of Israel, God will not tolerate a religion’s corruption just because it boasts of its antiquity. Now is the urgent time for anyone who sincerely wants to worship God to evaluate their own belief system and escape counterfeit religion.

        January 11, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • G to the T

          "counterfeit Christians who would spread false Christianity." – Correct, though most call it the Protestant Reformation.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Bible Teacher

          I suppose that that would depend on whom you ask, lol.

          I'm sure you've observed, as I have, that many who say they are Christians don't really live up to what that name represents. What Jesus said at Matthew 7:21-23 definitely gives pause:

          “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

          Jesus seemed to be categorizing more than just one counterfeit religion.

          January 14, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
  11. trafulgartrue

    I love Pope Francis!!!! He is very refreshing and unique! He loves people just as Jesus did. He is a great role model to follow.

    January 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
    • truth for all

      covering up abuses and denying children with destroyed lives is so wonderful

      January 8, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
  12. Sunflower

    other day he called his old nun friends, and they did not pick up his call....it was a big news in Catholic community too!!

    January 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
  13. Sunflower

    professional photographers seem to be always around when these things happen?

    January 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
    • det astvinoah

      Of course "professional photographers " were around. Photographers follow the Pope EVERYWHERE. Just as they follow Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens, etc.

      January 8, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
      • Sunflower

        the original story started like "Pope picks up hitchhiker on Popemobile", like he picked up some real drifter and photographers were right there, now it says he picked up his friend, not a hitchhiker.

        January 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
  14. sinsarakris

    I want to ride on the Popemobile. This pope rocks my NON Catholic socks off. GOOD FOR HIM....for not being a slave to social norms and not placating the millions of people that are stuck in mindlessness!

    January 8, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
  15. venividivici

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

    What an exageration...

    January 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
  16. Jaime

    I am not catholic, but I think he is a leader.

    January 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • Yes He is.

      My Dear James, Yes, He is a Leader. Just wait for miracles to happen soon....Believe in Him..

      January 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
  17. John Hurd

    That's nice, picking up a hitch-hiker. But how about taking a few minutes to do something about the Catholic school administrators who've been in the news lately for getting fired (or forced out)? The Pope has said he's not someone
    to judge gays, so maybe he'd like to advise these Catholic schools to re-instate those employees. Surely, they
    would listen to none other than the Pope.

    January 8, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      That stuff is way way WAY below his pay grade. You'd have a much better chance talking to the local bishop.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
      • G to the T

        So a shephard should not be concerned about the least of his lambs?

        January 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
  18. NicolasE

    This Pope is a little too comfortable on the emotional plane. He is like a woman among women. It's time a real slim shady stands up in that vatican building.

    January 8, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
  19. Kev

    This was so staged! When it isn't staged, the driver usually gets mugged or worse.

    January 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
    • motionlessinpink

      Did you read the article? The headline is misleading. In the story it says that the Pope knew the Priest from his former Diocese. Go back and read it, it's worth the time.

      January 8, 2014 at 5:29 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.