Passion star meets Pope
The Vatican has confirmed that the actor who plays Jesus in the controversial The Passion of the Christ had an audience with the Pope on Monday, reports the BBC.
Jim Caviezel, 35, had a brief meeting with John Paul II who then blessed the Catholic actor.
The Pope was given an early private screening of Mel Gibson's film, but Vatican officials denied reports that he personally endorsed it.
Caviezel's wife and parents-in-law were also present at the Vatican meeting.
The film has been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism, long before it was even released, as some Jewish groups see it as entirely blaming Jews for the death of Christ.
While in Rome, Caviezel attended a private screening at the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic group.
The actor has been hailed for his performance as Jesus in the film, which tells the story of the Crucifixion.
For much of the film he had to be covered in fake blood as he depicted Christ's final hours.
The Passion of the Christ has been a surprise box office success, reaping more than 0m (£138m) in the US alone.
It remains top of the US box office after three weeks, and experts predict it could reach the 0m (£220m) milestone.
It receives its UK release on 26 March.