Pope Francis invited to watch controversial ‘anti-Catholic’ movie

It is the controversial movie that has enraged Catholics throughout the world. 

Now, in an extraordinary move, Academy Award-nominated Philomena, billed by one New York critic as a ‘hateful’ attack on Catholicism, may be screened in front of the Pope. 

A spokesman for the drama by Stephen Frears, about a woman forcibly separated from her child in the 1950s, said last night talks with the Vatican were under way about arranging a private screening.

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Phliomena was released in late 2013, and starred Steve Coogan as journalist Martin Sixsmith and Dame Judi Dench as Philomena Lee

‘We asked for an audience with the Pope and we are in talks with the Vatican about screening the movie to Pope Francis.

‘This has been done through an intermediary and we have had a very good reception.’

The movie has been nominated for Best Picture at both the Baftas and the Oscars. But the story – about shamed Irishwoman Philomena Lee’s journey to be reunited with her son, who was taken from her by nuns and sold for adoption to a family in America at three – has deeply upset many factions of the Catholic faith.

They have accused film makers of distorting the truth about the order of Irish nuns portrayed in  the movie.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives for an audience. He has now been invited to watch the Oscar nominated movie in a private showing of the movie Philomena, which critics have said portrays the catholic church in a bad light

The film is based on the book, The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee, by journalist and former New  Labour spin doctor Martin Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan), who helped Mrs Lee track down her son. 

Mrs Lee, played by Dame Judi Dench in the movie, is leading the Philomena Project, which is campaigning for Ireland to open the adoption records for thousands more mothers whose children ended up in the U.S.

The spokesman for the movie added: ‘We hope that if the  Pope does see the movie, his wisdom will influence decision making.’

The movie’s producer, Harvey Weinstein, flew to Switzerland last month to meet with representatives from the Vatican and is co-ordinating the screening.

The real Philomena Lee, who Dame Judi Dench portrays in the movie. She has since been an advocate of fairer and more advanced adoption procedures.

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