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Church artifacts with miraculous powers:

Weeping/bleeding statues

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Sponsored link.


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About statues in Roman Catholicism:

Rev. Roger J. Smith, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Seattle, WA, writes: "Catholics do not worship paintings, or statues. They are just a way of conveying something about God, and are not God themselves. It is quite clear to any thinking person that stone or paint cannot be God, but can only represent, or tell something about, some small aspect of God.....saints are venerated in the sense of having profound respect for them. Icons and images are venerated only in the sense that we venerate, i.e. show respect for, the person depicted." 1

However, some devout believers depart from the church's teaching and attribute miraculous powers to statues and other images of Jesus and the saints. Stories of statues that bleed, weep tears, exude oil, etc. surface from time to time all over the world.

We will attempt to describe some of these events in this essay. We believe that most have not been investigated scientifically. Most, if not all, of those who have been studied have been proven to be hoaxes.

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How to make a weeping statue:

In his book "The Unexplained," Doctor Karl P.N. Shuker, mentions a paper by Dr. Luigi Garlaschelli from Pavia University published in Chemistry in Britain. It describes how to make a statue weep.

An except from the book is: "What is needed is a hollow statue made of a porous material such as plaster or ceramic.  The icon must be glazed or painted with some sort of impermeable coating.  If the statue is then filled up with a liquid (surreptitiously, through a tiny hole in the head, for example), the porous material will absorb it, but the glazing will stop it from flowing out.  If the glazing, however, is imperceptibly scratched away on or around the eyes, tear-like drops will leak out, as if materialising from thin air.  If the cavity behind the eyes is small enough, once all the liquid has dripped out there are virtually no traces left in the icon.  When I put it to the test, this trick proved to be very satisfactory, baffling all onlookers." 2

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2004-MAY: Brisbane, Australia:

News spread that a large plaster statue of the Virgin Mary at the Inala Vietnamese Catholic Centre in Brisbane, Australia, was seeping scented oil from its eyes, nose, forehead and fingers. A small crucifix on the altar and religious figurines have bled. Also included in the apparently miraculous display were rosary beads and a picture of Jesus Christ. Thousands of devotees visited the Catholic Centre to view the artifacts.

Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane arranged for a commission to investigate the occurrences. It was headed by Dr Adrian Farrelly, a retired chemistry professor who is an Agnostic. The statue of the Virgin Nary was X-rayed. Oil and blood samples were analyzed using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. He found that:

bulletThe rose-scented oil on the artifacts was "...very likely one that is commercially available and it is possible that the substance was applied to them by human hands."
bullet"The red substance found on some of the artifacts was shown not to be blood."
bulletTwo small-diameter holes had been drilled through the statute through which liquids could have been injected.

The commission concluded that it was "not satisfied the phenomenon was, within the proper meaning of the word, a miracle".

Archbishop Bathersby stated: "Given that there is the possibility that human agency could produce the phenomenon then....I must declare that what has happened at Inala cannot be said to be of supernatural origin." He ordered that the items be removed from public veneration. On 2004-AUG-01, he apologized to everyone who was deceived by the hoax, and asked for an accounting of funds received "during the time of these pilgrimages." He revealed that the Catholic Centre's priest, Father Joseph Nguyen Thanh Liem, had routed additional money obtained from the sale of rosary beads and crucifixes into a special account to ease poverty in African countries. Fr. Joseph had believed that the events were truly miraculous. He said that he had seen three other statues of the Virgin weeping at homes around Inala.

Some parishioners agreed. One said: "I don't care [about the report]. With my eyes I saw that. I believe it in my heart." Another believes that the weeping Mary statues were: "a sign from God"....I saw it, it's a miracle. No one knows what happened but it's a sign from God." 3,4

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References used:

  1. Roger J. Smith, "Religious Art: Catholic teaching down the centuries," 1997, at: http://landru.i-link-2.net/
  2. Dr. Karl P. N. Schuker, "The Unexplained," Carlton Books, (1997) ISBN: 1-85868-384. Cited in "Weeping Statues," at: http://www.paranormality.com/
  3. "Professor examines weeping statues," MomeMSN, 2004-JUN-2, at: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/
  4. Margaret Wenham, Emma Chalmers and Amanda Watt, "Church says 'weeping' statues are fakes," News.com.au, 2004-AUG-2, at: http://www.news.com.au/

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A skeptical book:

bullet Joe Nickell, "Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures," Prometheus Books, (1999). Read reviews, view pages, or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

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Web sites by believers in miraculous statues:

bullet"Weeping Statues," at: http://www.mcn.org/
bullet"Weeping Statues - Mary (Marion) apparitions," at: http://www.crystalinks.com/
bullet"Weeping Staues [sic]," at: http://maxpages.com/
bullet"Weeping Statues," at: http://www.rotten.com/

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Site navigation:

 Home > Christianity > Christian history... > Frauds > here

or Home > "Hot" religious topics > Frauds > here

or Home > Christianity > Catholic Church > here

or Home > Christianity > Groups > List > Catholic Church > here

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Copyright 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2004-AUG-2
Latest update: 2004-AUG-2
Author: B.A. Robinson

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