Oh, the irony: Bergoglio planned to watch ‘Habemus Papam’ film at home after conclave

Scene from 2012 movie 'We Have a Pope'

The French actor, Michel Piccoli, plays a cardinal who experiences a personal crisis when he’s elected pope, in this scene from the 2011 movie “We Have a Pope.” (CNS photo/IFC Films)

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had been looking forward to watching the Italian film, “We Have a Pope,” (“Habemus Papam”) when he returned home from the conclave in March.

But being elected pontiff foiled those plans.

Pope Francis is an admitted movie buff. He grew up watching films with his Italian-born parents in Argentina and he’s said he’s a big fan of Italian cinema, particularly directors Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini.

Unfortunately, he had little time to devote to movie watching while he headed the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

He didn’t have a television at home and “preferred to pray, read or listen to music in his free time,” said Julio Rimoldi, the general director of Canal 21, a Catholic television station that was founded in 2005 and is located in the archdiocesan headquarters in Buenos Aires.

Rimoldi, a longtime friend of the pope, told reporters last week in Rome that then-Cardinal Bergoglio received stacks of DVDs as presents — old black and white classics and more modern releases like “Life is Beautiful” starring Roberto Benigni.

Rimoldi said the future pope would call and ask him, “When can I come by the TV studio to watch them?” The cardinal was too busy to get through everything, Rimoldi said, and many discs were left sealed in their shrink wrap.

The last movie Cardinal Bergoglio received before leaving for the conclave in Rome, was the 2011 Nanni Moretti film, “We Have a Pope,” Rimoldi said, in a piece published by L’Osservatore Romano.

He was hoping to watch it when things were less rushed as soon as he returned home from the conclave. But, as the Vatican newspaper put it, “The Holy Spirit decided otherwise.”