WASHINGTON - At a special convocation of the College of Cardinals, Pope Benedict announced the elevation of Mel Gibson to the position of Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Although rumors had been circulating ever since the release of Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ," most of those close to the Pope had expected an announcement on Easter Sunday in April.
Dominican Father Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation, called the film the best scourging of flesh he had seen in a long time. "Those 12 minutes will live with me forever," Di Noia said. "I went back to my apartment and immediately tried to recreate the scene before several of my peers. Before I knew it, we were all dressed in loincloths, heads rimmed with thorns, beating the hell out of each other. Thank God, we had just received a new cask of wine for the Eucharist. Eased the pain, you know."
Percy Godot, Gibson's agent, said that his client was not available for comment, having gone into seclusion for an indefinite period: "Mel needs time to take in his new-found sanctity. Plus he is being fitted for his new robes, a tasteful mélange of lily white with splashes of red." Asked if it was true that now-Cardinal Gibson was planning a sequel to "The Passion," Godot said that His Eminence was merely waiting Vatican approval of the film's tentative title, "Son of the Passion of the Christ."