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Angelina Jolie meets with Pope Francis, screens 'Unbroken' at Vatican

Pope Francis meets with Angelina Jolie for a

Pope Francis meets with Angelina Jolie for a screening of her film "Unbroken" in Vatican City, on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Credit: EPA / Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis met briefly with Angelina Jolie Thursday at the Vatican, following a screening of her film "Unbroken," her second dramatic feature as director.

"Being invited with my film to the Vatican is an honor and a great tribute to the story that I have told in 'Unbroken,' " the Academy Award-winning actress and UN goodwill ambassador, 39, said in a statement. She called the story of Italian-American Olympic athlete and World War II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini "a great example of strength and forgiveness."

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told The Associated Press the film shows "positive human and spiritual values, in particular forgiveness."

"Pope Francis, aware of the incredible life story of Louis Zamperini, graciously welcomed the opportunity to view the film and is expected to attend the screening at the Casina Pio IV, headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences," Universal Pictures Italia said in a statement prior to the screening. The Catholicism website Crux said the pontiff was unable to attend due to previously scheduled meetings with American Cardinal Raymond Burke and other senior prelates.

Jolie -- who arrived in Rome Wednesday with her and husband Brad Pitt's eldest daughters, Zahara and Shiloh -- hosted the screening with the late Zamperini's son, Luke. Vatican officials and ambassadors attended.

Afterward, she, the children, her brother and a cast member exchanged a few words with Francis at the Apostolic Palace, said the AP. Lombardi characterized it as a brief, cordial greeting rather than a formal audience.

The film, which opened Christmas Day in the United States, is being released in Italy on Jan. 29.

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