Pope Francis said he worked in a bar and did some work as a bouncer when he was a student (Reuters)
Pope Francis said he worked in a bar and did some work as a bouncer when he was a student (Reuters)

Having previously worked sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical laboratory, Pope Francis said he also used to work as a bouncer before he became head of the Catholic Church.

The 76-year-old was discussing his previous employment history as he spoke to a number of parishioners before and after celebrating mass during a visit to a church on the outskirts of Rome.

Pope Francis revealed that before he became the spiritual leader of more than one billion Catholics around the world, he worked as a bouncer at a Buenos Aires bar as a younger man, according to Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

During the informal four-hour chat, Pope Francis said how it was his work in later life, teaching literature and psychology, which persuaded him to join the Church.

He also answered questions on how he felt during his first Mass after being elected pontiff.

He said: "Was I anxious? A little, yes, but everyone was nice. But it's true, having a lot of people in front of you is a bit scary.

"[Now] I feel really good. The Lord helped me be a priest, to be a bishop and now to be the Pope."

He also gave advice on how to set a good example to others. He said: "Pray all the time, don't speak badly of others because gossip destroys friendships, and always greet people nicely, always with a smile."

The revelation that the Pope worked as a bouncer comes after a book looking at his personal life was published. Among the stories published about the 266th Pope was that he used to tango as a young man to impress women, makes a "fantastic paella" and to dipped his nephew's dummy into whisky to stop him crying.

The uncharacteristic behaviour of Pope Francis also was also discussed following speculation he leaves the Vatican at night dressed as a priest in order to speak to homeless people around Rome.

Since he was elected Pope, he has presented himself as an unconventional leader of the Catholic Church, speaking out against homelessness and the poor and church's sexual abuse scandals.

The "Francis Effect" has also been credited with increasing the size of congregations in Britain by around 20%.