When Francis met Philomena

Details, from Religion News Service: 

Philomena Lee, the real-life Irish woman whose life story is the center of the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena,” met Pope Francis on Wednesday.

The film has earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture, and Stephen Frears, the film’s director, expressed hope Pope Francis would watch the feel-good film, which some critics say is rife with anti-Catholic undertones. But the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, recently quashed that speculation.

“The Holy Father does not see films and he will not be seeing this one,” Lombardi said.

The film tells the tale of Lee’s struggle to track down her son, who was taken from her in a Catholic home for unwed mothers in 1952, when she was 18. According to Lee’s account, the church actively blocked her efforts — and those of her son — to reunite.

Lee, 80, and her daughter, Jane Libberton, attended a private audience with Francis, and then Lee briefly met the pontiff.

“There is no way I could have ever imagined it,” Lee said of meeting Francis. Asked if she felt resentment against the church, Lee said, “You can’t go through life being so unyielding; you’ve got to forgive.”

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