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Pope blesses 'Noah' star Crowe

Actor meets Francis at general audience

19 March, 14:52
Pope blesses 'Noah' star Crowe (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 19 - Pope Francis blessed Russell Crowe in St Peter's Square Wednesday as the Gladiator star came back to Rome to promote his Bible epic Noah. "Ciao Roma, my love for your eternal light just grows deeper. Thank you holy father @Pontifex for the blessing," tweeted Crowe after a meet-and-greet in the VIP section of Wednesday's general audience which the actor cheekily dubbed 'Back stage at the Vatican'.

Francis's meeting with Crowe and filmmaker Darren Aronofsky had been in doubt up to the last minute after the Vatican ruled out a private audience amid reports The Wrestler director's take on the Biblical hero - which has been censored in several Arab countries - might be seen as blasphemous.

New Zealand-born and Australian-raised Crowe is not a Catholic and ruffled feathers in 2011 with a series of tweets supporting abortion.

But the star was enthusiastic about meeting Francis, the humble and genial pontiff credited with nudging the Catholic Church in new directions.

Crowe, who has settled into family life with his two sons after a sometimes tempestuous career and several brawls with the press, was delighted to have met the pontiff on the feast of St Joseph, which is Father's Day in Catholic countries.

"What a privilege, attended the Udienza with the holy father @Pontifex. St.Josephs day & Fathers Day," he tweeted.

The 49-year-old actor, whose other credits include A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man, also posted pictures with a group of nuns, captioned 'Pre show with some of the girls', and priests, dubbed 'Pre show with some of the lads'.