VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II has beatified the last Hapsburg emperor and the nun whose visions inspired Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ.
The Pope said Blessed Charles I of Austria, who died in exile in 1922, was “a friend of peace, in whose eyes war was something terrible”. The emperor’s commitment to Christian values should be a model for European politicians today, the pontiff added.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the Pope said, showed heroic patience and firm faith in dealing with years of ill health. He did not mention the German mystic’s controversial book of visions on Christ’s final days, for which she is best known.
The Pope listened as biographies of the newly beatified were read at the start of a Mass in St Peter’s Square on October 3.
About 20,000 people, including several hundred European royalty, attended.
The beatification of Charles I, who ruled Hungary as King Charles IV, stirred controversy among Austrians who consider him an ambivalent historical figure.
The three others beatified were: French Fr Joseph-Marie Cassant, a Cistercian monk who was best known for his prayer life and his devotion to the Eucharist; Italian Sr Ludovica de Angelis, a member of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, famous for her work at a Church-run children’s hospital in Buenos Aires and French Fr Pierre Vigne, an “itinerant missionary” of the 17th and 18th centuries, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.