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Rome Reports

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'Life is Beautiful' director to Pope: “St. Francis married poverty, wife of Christ”

-This is Francis! It's Francis! This is the most beautiful moment. The most joyful. The brightest. Look at the light he radiates.
-Don't exaggerate. Come on, don't exaggerate.
-How can I not exaggerate?

Pope Francis met with Italian actor and director, Roberto Benigni.

-I am honored by your visit.
-I'm honored that you're seeing me. I must tell you that my wife, Nicoletta, says hello.

The “Life is Beautiful” director presented his poetic monologue about St. Francis of Assisi, called il Cantico, to the Pope. 

-Forgive my lack of humility. But this is just me making a show about St. Francis. And I say a show because his life is a show. You know it well. You are a Jesuit, but your name is Francis.

The comedian and Pope also discussed the life of St. Francis.

-He imitated Jesus like no one else.
-I would say so.
-Yes, I'm saying that. In fact, he marries poverty—Jesus' wife—who had been a widow for a thousand years.

Pope Francis gave Benigni one of his books and a medal celebrating the ninth year of his pontificate. After their meeting, the two said goodbye with an embrace.

-All my best, Holiness. We're praying for you.