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‘Nobody is Born a Saint’: Twitter abuzz over story that Pope Francis was once Nightclub Bouncer

As Pope Francis embarked upon the first-ever papal visit to Iraq on Friday hoping to encourage preservation of Iraq’s ancient Christian communities and facilitate the return of Christians driven out by Daesh [ISIL/ISIS terror group], there was heightened interest in the Pontiff’s past life on social media.

A Twitter account titled “Fact” that posts “interesting facts about life” by its own admission revealed on Thursday that Pope Francis apparently “used to be a nightclub bouncer.”

The post gained over 4,000 likes and 500 retweets as users debated if the claim was true.

The story that Pope Francis, known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio before assuming the holy title as leader of the Roman Catholic in 2013, used to work as a nightclub bouncer in his native city of Buenos Aires, Argentina was first reported in March 2013 by Italian newspaper Gazzetta del Sud.

It wrote that as a student, the future Pontiff “worked as a bouncer at a nightclub to support himself.”

In December that year, major American media outlets looked into the story – they cited the Vatican’s official paper, L’Osservatore Romano, which revealed that Francis reportedly once told parishioners in Rome that he had indeed worked the door of a nightclub.

“That’s one of the things he did while he was putting himself through school to study to become a priest,” CNN reported in 2013.

Details of the Pope’s past resurfacing on Twitter sparked a stream of amusing reactions.

One user shared a photoshopped image showing Pope Francis’ head on the body of a club bouncer, while many on social media pointed out that no one is “born a saint.”

Historic Apostolic Visit

Revived interest in the 84-year-old’s background comes as he arrived in Iraq on 5 March for a historic visit, in defiance of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and security situation in the region.

The pontiff was greeted in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace and met with Iraqi President Barham Salih and heads of local Christian communities.

On Saturday, the second day of his whirlwind tour, Pope Francis visited Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite Muslims.

Afterwards, the Pontiff flew from the holy city of Najaf to the ancient remains of Ur – the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, equally revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

The itinerary of the pope’s first foreign visit in 15 months traverses the Plains of Nineveh to the northern region of Kurdistan, where he will hold an outdoor Mass for thousands at Franso Hariri soccer stadium in Erbil on Sunday evening.

The apostolic visit has been described as an act of solidarity with the Christian community and a symbolic outreach to Muslims.

On Friday, the Pope tweeted that he had arrived “as a penitent” and a “pilgrim of peace, in the name of Christ.”

Source: Svetlana Ekimenko – SPUTNIK