17 Reasons Pope Francis Is The Coolest Pope Ever

Since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has delighted and surprised the world with his unique, unconventional approach to leading the Catholic Church. 

Pope Francis, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was born to an Italian immigrant and his wife on Dec. 17th, 1936 in a barrio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Despite his humble beginnings, Bergoglio rose the ranks of the church, ultimately becoming the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church in 2013. 

Since his papacy began, the first Latin American Pope has been making headlines for his charitable works with the poor, the homeless, the LGBT community, the disfigured, and the sick. His actions have even caused Stephen Colbert to dub him the “Bat Pope" and have landed him on on the cover of Rolling Stone

It's confirmed: He really is the coolest pope ever! Here's 17 reasons why: 

MORE: Pope Francis & Five Latinos On TIME's Most Influential People List

1. He recorded a "rock" album.

On Nov. 27, the ever-progressive Pope Francis dropped an 11-track prog rock album. Wake Up! — called more "ambient than proggy" by the Telegraph — features excerpts of speeches from the pontiff in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian accompanied by rock instrumentation. Listen to the title track here.

2. He's a published author.

On March 1, 2016, the pontiff will release his first children's book, Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Questions From Children. In the illustrated book, the Pope personally responds to 30 letters and drawings from children across the world. 

3. He's a 'caped crusader.'

Reports claim that Pope Francis has been sneaking out of the Vatican! The “Vigilante Vicar” trades in his signature white robes for the apparel of an ordinary priest and travels throughout Rome to minister to the poor and homeless. 

4. He worked as a bouncer.

Yes, it’s true: Pope Francis worked as a bouncer in a Buenos Aires bar to earn money as a student. He claims that his job at the nightclub was good practice for his later work in the church. Some internet users even compared the Pope to St. Peter, who serves as the “bouncer” to the Gates of Heaven.

 

5. He's a soccer fanatic.

Francis is an avid sports fan -- and he especially adores the San Lorenzo Football Club, his local team. 

 

6. He gets down on the dance floor.

Prior to becoming a priest, Pope Francis had a girlfriend whom he loved to tango with on the dance floor. 

 

7. He has half a lung.

When he was 21, he suffered from a life-threatening bout of pneumonia, which caused him to have a portion of his lung removed. Basically, he’s walking around, ruling the Catholic Church, and inspiring people around the world...with just half a lung! How badass is that? 

 

8. He's a man of the people.

When the Pope served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he insisted on traveling throughout the city using public transportation, rather than using taxis or a car service.

9. He's a philosopher... and a chemist!

Pope Francis studied philosophy at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires and also earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. 

 

10. First class? No way!

Flying first class? Not this guy! Some outlets have reported that the Pope travelled to the conclave in Rome on an economy flight! 

 

11. He has a great sense of humor.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis gave visitors to the Vatican a little gift. The box, which looked like it held prescription medication, actually contained a rosary. He called it “spiritual medicine” and joked that he was “like a pharmacist.” 

 

12. He's on the cover of 'Rolling Stone' magazine.

Rock star status! Pope Francis landed the cover of Rolling Stone with the headline "The Times They Are A-Changing At the Vatican." 

 

13. Super Pope!

Pope Francis officially achieved Super Hero status when the Vatican approved graffiti art by artist Maupal. The work features the Pope zooming through the air, donning a cape and holding a satchel with the word "Valores" (Values) enscribed upon it. 

 

14. He rides a motorcycle!

How badass is this? Pope Francis auctioned his 2013 Dyna Super Glide Harley Davidson motorcycle for a cool $327,000, and donated the funds to a soup kitchen and hostel for the homeless in Rome. 

15. He's not afraid to speak the truth.

Pope Francis came out strong against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Francis has branded the sexual abuse of children by priests an ugly crime comparable to "satanic Mass", saying he would show zero tolerance for anyone in the church who perpetrated the crime against children. 

16. Married priests? Maybe one day!

The Pope sparked a debate on the topic of priestly celibacy when he told reporters that the rule was "not a dogma."

"The door is always open," he said. 

17. He wants peace in the Middle East.

On a recent trip to Middle East, Pope Francis spoke about his desire for peace in the region. He delivered an open-air Catholic mass in Bethlehem, Israel, shortly after meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas

After his visit, the Pope invited both President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Abbas of Palestine to visit the Vatican and take part in a common prayer for peace. "The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace," the Pope said.

Both presidents have accepted the invitation to travel to Italy for the peace prayer.