Pope to meet top US comedians as part of Vatican outreach – Catholic Herald

Pope to meet top US comedians as part of Vatican outreach – Catholic Herald

ROME – Pope Francis will welcome comedians from all over the world next week, including top US names such as Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Whoopi Goldberg, for a cultural event at the Vatican aimed at forging stronger ties between the Catholic Church and the world of comedy.

Announced 8 June, the audience between the Pope and comedians will take place on 14 June, at the Vatican and is being jointly organised by the Vatican Dicastery for Culture and Education and the Dicastery for Communication “to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists”.

An 8 June Vatican press release announcing the event said Pope Francis “recognises the significant impact that the art of comedy has on the world of contemporary culture”.

“Through the humorous talent and the unifying value of laughter, unique reflections on the human condition and the historical situation are offered today,” it said, adding that comedy can also “contribute to a more empathetic and supportive world”.

Pope Francis in the past has said he prays daily that God would give him “a sense of humour”, and expressed his belief that comedians – ranging from actors to artists to cartoonists to writers, and more – have “the ability to dream new versions of the world…with irony, which is a wonderful virtue.” He has also expressed his praise for the role of all artists in general.

According to the Vatican, the meeting aims “to celebrate the beauty of human diversity and to promote a message of peace, love, and solidarity, and it promises to be a significant moment of intercultural dialogue and of sharing hope and joy”.

Currently a total of 105 comedians from 15 countries, with 68 people accompanying them, have confirmed their presence in the 14 June audience.

American comedians who have confirmed their attendance include some notable Catholic comedians, such as Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan, as well as Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, who grew up Catholic. Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock and Tig Notaro are also due to attend.

Just two weeks ago, Pope Francis was joined by famed Italian actor and comedian Roberto Benigni to celebrate the first-ever World Day of Children, which wrapped up with a 26 May Mass in St. Peter’s Square during which Benigni delivered an impromptu 20-minute routine.

Goldberg met Pope Francis in 2023 during a Vatican audience. Afterwards she shared details of the meeting on her popular TV program The View, saying: “He was quite amazing. He is exactly what I hoped he would be, which is a Pope for all people regardless of religion, which I really appreciated.”

Photo: Stephen Colbert attends Apple TV +’s Primetime Emmy Party in Los Angeles, California, 15 January 2024. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images.)

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