(CNN) – If St. Peter ever needs help at the Pearly Gates, his successor Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job.
The popular pontiff was once a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina, Francis told Catholics at a church outside Rome earlier this week.
He has also swept floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory, the Pope said, in revelations sure to boost his image as a “pope of the people.” And, as leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina, he woke at 5:30 a.m. to do the priests’ laundry, according to author Christopher Lowney.
Francis didn’t offer details about his career as a bouncer, according to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, or what connection his velvet-rope experience might have to his current job as Vicar of Christ and head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Instead, the Pope told the church group, “his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church,” reports Catholic News Service.
Getting people into church seems to be Pope Francis’ primary mission these days, as made clear by his most recent official statement, a 50,000-word pep talk to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
In “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), officially known as an “apostolic exhortation,” Francis calls for church reforms, urges Catholics to be more bold and joyful, and castigates elements of modern capitalism.
“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets,” the Pope said, “rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
Did Francis leave a few barflies bruised and hurting during his bouncing days? No word on that from the Vatican yet.