Pope Beatifies Charles I, Julia Roberts

Oct 11 2004 by Ross Bender

At a solemn ceremony in the Vatican last week, Pope John Paul II, 84, offered prayers for the beatification of Charles I, last ruler of the Hapsburg Empire, and Julia Roberts.

Emperor Charles I, 1877-1922, who ordered the use of mustard gas on the Italians in World War I, was praised as a man of peace by the ailing Pontiff. "He was a friend of peace. In his eyes, war was 'something horrible'," said the Pope.

Julia Roberts played the saintly lawyer in Conspiracy Theory, the movie where she helps rescue Mel Gibson from a dastardly plot in which he undergoes waterboarding by the CIA. Gibson was so impressed by Roberts' tenderness in the film that he was inspired to go on and make the blockbuster hit The Passion of the Christ.

Qualifications for full sainthood in the Catholic Church include verification of at least three miracles directly linked to the candidate.

In the case of Charles I, he already has one under his belt. In 1954 a Brazilian nun claimed to be healed of her varicose veins after praying to the dead Austro-Hungarian emperor. Likewise, Julia Roberts was seen in a vision by a 78-year old hardware salesman on Long Island who regained his erectile function after watching Notting Hill.

Disgruntled elements in Austria protested the Pope's decision, saying that the remnants of the Hapsburg family had "paid off the Pope." Austrian Green Party leader, Stefan Schennach, commented that "The Habsburgs have for a decade lobbied the Catholic right wing and bought this glorious day for their family in Rome."

Jennifer Jones, who played the peasant woman who sees visions of Mary the Mother of Jesus in The Song of Bernadette, also had harsh words for the Pope. "How come I didn't get beatified? Huh? How come that slut gets beatified? Song of Bernadette, now there was a religious movie. Not like that piece o' trash "Pretty Woman."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, another prominent Austrian native, is said to have submitted his request for beatification to the Vatican.

The Holy See had no immediate comment.

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