VATICAN CITY - The unprecedented outpouring of grief for Tim Russert, the host of NBC's Meet the Press who died Friday, prompted the Vatican to waive all requirements for sainthood -- including the requirement that miracles be attributed to the deceased's intercession -- in order to canonize him immediately.

An official Vatican statement explained the unusual move: "Even though the vast majority of persons mourning Mr. Russert never watched the esoteric Sunday morning political talk show Meet the Press and most, frankly, probably had never even heard of Mr. Russert until he died, the grieving has become so wide-spread that it has prompted the Holy See to jump on the lamentation bandwagon and declare him a saint."

Several unnamed but high-ranking officials at NBC reportedly met Sunday afternoon to discuss how to best use Russert's status as a saint to help insure the election of Barrack Obama.

A Vatican spokesman said it was fair to assume that upon his arrival in heaven, Mr. Russert turned the tables on St. Peter, traditionally believed to be heaven's gatekeeper, by using his well-honed scalpel of cross-examination to ask the Saint "tough but fair" questions about why he denied Jesus three times after his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The spokesman added that "he hoped" Katie Couric would not be named Russert's replacement on Meet the Press but declined to elaborate except to note: "You know, she's a woman and all."