- (Photo: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)
When going to a tavern or night club and looking upon the muscle hired to keep order, few would imagine that one of them may one day become a globally influential spiritual leader.
And yet, as reported by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, such an employment background exists with the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Francis has recently stated in Rome that while a youth he served as a club bouncer. The pontiff told worshippers on Sunday at the church of San Cirillo Alessandrino that before entering the priesthood he served as a bouncer.
Throwing out unruly club patrons was not what led him to take the spiritual route he is currently on, as reported by Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service.
"The pope … chatted informally with a large number of parishioners before and after celebrating Mass," wrote Glatz. "He told one group that when he was young, he worked as a bouncer, and that his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church."
Formerly Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis became pope earlier this year after his predecessor Benedict XVI resigned due to health issues.
Pope Francis has since garnered headlines for his acts and words of compassion, which have been seen as a strong departure from how the Catholic Church has been viewed by the general public.
This is not the first time the pontiff's past employment has come up. Back in March, the Gazzetta del Sud reported that when Francis was "a student he worked as a bouncer at a nightclub to support himself."
News of his night club background came as the pontiff preached about the journey to hope on the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the liturgical calendar Christmas season.
Sunday also marked World AIDS Day, a time which recognizes the struggle to eradicate HIV-AIDS and the need to prevent future infections.
Pope Francis called for prayers for those who were HIV-AIDS positive, stating that "each sick person, nobody excluded, may access the therapy they need."