Stephen Colbert and Whoopi Goldberg met the Pope at the Vatican. No joke.

In the audience, Francis cited several times the “Prayer of Good Humour” attributed to St. Thomas More, who said he had prayed for 40 years. “Do you know that prayer? You should know that,” he said.

He also shook hands with everyone present.

“I said, 'Thank you for inviting me and God bless you,'” Mrs. Louis-Dreyfus later said. “And he said, 'God bless you,' so that was something.” She added: “He spoke beautifully – I mean, they gave us a translation. So I really think her comments were wonderful.

Whoopi Goldberg, who joked that she offered the Pope a cameo in the movie “Sister Act 3” during a meeting with him last year – “he seems to be a bit of a fan,” she said at the time – said that this visit was “really quick and really loving and made me happy.”

Some of the comedians at Friday's event have been involved in projects that have raised eyebrows among Catholics — including Mr. Rock, who played Rufus, “the thirteenth apostle,” in the 1999 film “Dogma,” which some Christian groups they criticized it as disrespectful and blasphemous. In an interview at the time, the comedian defended the film, saying, “You're more disrespectful to God if you stand up for it.”

At the end of the audience Francis blessed those present. “Continue to cheer up people, especially those who have difficulty looking at life with hope,” he told them. “Help us, with a smile, to see reality with its contradictions, and to dream of a better world!”

The pontiff then returned to more serious matters: He traveled to southern Italy to join the summit of the Group of 7, a gathering of leaders from the world's richest large democracies, in a discussion on the implications of artificial intelligence.

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