Russell Crowe goes to see Pope Francis, but not in private

"Noah" star Russell Crowe and a few of the filmmakers behind the upcoming movie epic made it to Vatican City on Thursday for Pope Francis' weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

It wasn't a private meeting with the pope, and apparently a screening of the film wasn't going to happen, but the trip to Rome had the actor upbeat on social media nonetheless.

"What a privilege , attended the Udienza with the holy father @Pontifex . St.Joesephs day & Fathers Day," he wrote, tweeting a picture of the crowd of about 80,000 at Vatican City.

"Ciao Roma, my love for your eternal light just grows deeper," he added later. "Thank you holy father @Pontifex for the blessing."

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Crowe had reached out to @Pontifex via Twitter back in February, offering to screen "Noah" for the holy father before its public release and then days later sending an apology of sorts: "Dear Holy Father @Pontifex," he said Feb. 25, "Sorry that I have caused havoc in your social media world. Seriously though #NoAH the movie will fascinate you."

No answer from the pope, who apparently doesn't watch movies in general. Regarding a previous request to screen "Philomena," a Vatican spokesman said in early February, "The Holy Father does not see films, and will not be seeing this one. It is also important to avoid using the pope as part of a marketing strategy." He did, however, briefly meet actor Steve Coogan and the real Philomena Lee, who as a pregnant teen sent to a Catholic convent was separated from her child.

The "Philomena" screening rebuff happened a few weeks before Crowe tweeted his "Noah" invitation.

The biblical epic opens March 28 in the U.S. It had its world premiere in Mexico City on March 10.

What a privilege , attended the Udienza with the holy father @Pontifex . St.Joesephs day & Fathers Day.

— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) March 19, 2014


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