Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pope Francis: I was a club bouncer before joining the Catholic church

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He’s already known as an ardent soccer fan and a tango dancing enthusiast.

And now, in another twist, Pope Francis has disclosed he used to work as a nightclub bouncer, according to a report from the Catholic News Service citing the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

The revelation came during a visit Francis paid Saturday to the Church of San Cirillo Alessandrino outside Rome. There, he reportedly told parishioners of his work as a club bouncer. 

Francis, who originally hails from a Buenos Aires barrio in Argentina, has since his election in March made waves with frank proclamations that some observers have characterized as reshaping Catholic priorities going forward.

Though he's reaffirmed rules condemning abortion, contraception use and homosexuality, Francis has also called for church leaders to stop clinging so doggedly to those doctrines. He's instead urged officials to focus on extending compassion, inclusion and evangelization.

In an apostolic exhortation Francis released last month, he urged the Vatican to emphasize outreach and equality over dogma and hierarchy, claiming they could learn a few lessons from the Orthodox Church's decentralized leadership structure. He also stressed the need for cooperating closely with other Christian denominations, as well as Muslims and Jews, and wrote women should share more influence in church leadership. 

Much of Francis' exhortation — the first major document he authored as pope — centered around advocating for an overhaul of the global financial system to eradicate economic inequality.

And Francis appears to practice what he preaches. Eschewing the opulent Apostolic Palace, he lives in a more modest Vatican guest house. He drives a Ford Focus instead of riding in the glass-enclosed rear of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV "pope mobile" most often used by Pope Benedict XVI. And, in October, he suspended German Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst — also known as "the Bishop of Bling" — for spending millions on a remodel of his residence.

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