I see that Roman Catholics are in the process of creating a Patron Saint for Chemical Warfare.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Kaiser Karl has been beatified already.Pope prepares 'sinner' Karl I for sainthood
By Kate Connolly in Berlin (Filed: 02/10/2004)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/10/02/wkarl02.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/10/02/ixworld.html
The last emperor of Austria, Karl I, will be beatified by the Pope tomorrow amid fierce political and religious argument over how saintly he really was.
While Austrian monarchists are delighted to see the first member of the defunct Habsburg dynasty set on the path to sainthood, critics claim that Karl I was an alcoholic adulterer who advocated the use of poison gas in the First World War.
But the Vatican insists that he performed a miracle - the requirement for beatification. In 1960 a Polish nun based in Brazil was cured of severe leg sores and varicose veins after praying to him.
In addition, when his coffin was opened in 1972, despite a hasty embalming procedure, his corpse was almost completely intact, another important sign of saintliness.
The decision to beatify him follows a campaign by a prayer league lasting more than half a century and constant lobbying of the Vatican by Austrian dignitaries.
There will be three days of celebrations in Rome attended by members of the Austrian and Hungarian governments, 200 descendants of the Habsburg family and about 4,000 pilgrims.
The Vatican's Congregation of the Causes of Saints argues that Karl "served his people with justice and charity" and helped the poor. But critics - including President Heinz Fischer of Austria, who has said he will stay away in protest - argue that the Vatican is ignoring the fact that he commanded troops who were authorised to use poison gas on the Italian front.
Others accuse him of causing dozens of deaths in street fights during two attempts to regain power by force after the abolition of the monarchy.
"He was involved in atrocities and chose never to recognise the republic of Austria," said Josef Cap of the Social Democrats. "Any suggestion otherwise is misrepresentation." Habsburg family members put the claims down to age-old "German propaganda" which was used in an attempt to discredit the emperor. They say Karl, a Freemason, was a peace lover who tried to stop the war and limit the use of poison gas.
The Habsburg empire ruled much of central Europe for 640 years until 1918.
Karl I took the throne in 1916, but abdicated in 1918. After being escorted out of the country by the British, he died in exile on Madeira in 1922 at the age of 34.
His beatification is the 1,340th of the Pope's 26-year tenure - more than all his predecessors combined.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ Sister Anne Catherine Emmerick, a German nun dubbed "Mel's Muse" for the inspiration her writings gave Mel Gibson for his film The Passion of the Christ, is to be beatified tomorrow, despite accusations of anti-semitism.
Gibson took ideas from her book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ for his crucifixion scenes.