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Russell Crowe meets Pope Francis but leaves without a 'Noah' endorsement

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Russell Crowe, who plays the title character in the new Hollywood blockbuster "Noah," lobbied hard for a personal audience with Pope Francis. What he got Wednesday instead was a blessing.

Crowe used social media in recent weeks to try to cajole Francis to watch "Noah," which has drawn fire from religious groups that say the film takes too many liberties with the biblical story of Noah's Ark and the great flood. Crowe also asked for a private audience with the pontiff.

Pope to proclaim Brazilian, Canadian church pioneers saints in April

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Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis will declare three pioneers of the Catholic church in the Americas saints April 2, according to a Jesuit working on the causes.

Signing a decree, the pope will recognize the sainthood of Blessed Jose de Anchieta, a Jesuit known as the Apostle of Brazil; Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation, known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and Blessed Francois de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec.

Pope to fathers: Teach your children well, always be by their side

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On the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church and Jesus' earthly father, Pope Francis urged all dads in the world to stick by their children's side, teaching them, guiding them and loving them.

"I ask that you have the grace to be very close to your children, letting them grow, but being by their side. They need you, your presence, to be there, your love," the pope told fathers present in St. Peter's Square.

Pope says it's important to keep hope alive, have a sense of humor

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At the end of his Lenten retreat, Pope Francis said he and his closest collaborators at the Vatican "want to follow Jesus more closely, without losing hope in his promises and without losing a sense of humor."

The pope and 82 members of the Roman Curia, who left the Vatican by bus Sunday to travel the 20 miles to the Pauline Fathers' retreat and conference center in Ariccia, returned to the Vatican by bus Friday.

Portuguese Cardinal Policarpo, 78, dies while on retreat

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Portuguese Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, the retired archbishop of Lisbon, died Wednesday at the age of 78, apparently of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. He had been on retreat in Fatima when he experienced chest pains and was taken to a hospital in Lisbon, where he died.

He led the church in Portugal from 1998 to 2013, serving as archbishop or, officially, as "patriarch of Lisbon." Made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001, he participated in the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI and in the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis.

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April 11-24, 2014

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