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Church rejects claims of Virgin Mary statue crying blood

by Agence France Presse

VATICAN City, Holy See: The Catholic Church on Wednesday dismissed as false the miracles attributed to a statue of Virgin Mary in central Italy, which a self-professed visionary said had cried tears of blood.

“After fervent prayer, the non-supernatural nature of the facts in question is decreed,” wrote the diocese of Civita Castellana, after an investigation into the alleged sightings in Trevignano Romano, northwest of Rome.

Since 2016, a 54-year-old Sicilian, Gisella Cardia, had professed to communicate directly with the Virgin Mary and to have received the stigmata, or crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, on her own body.

Exasperating local residents, hundreds of pilgrims flocked to the town to pray to a statuette of the Madonna she acquired while visiting the pilgrimage site of Medjugorje in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Notably, Cardia said she saw the statue crying tears of blood and making a pizza multiply in size — a twist on the miracle of the loaves and fishes performed by Jesus in the Gospel.

“It was a pizza for four and 25 of us ate from it. It never got any smaller,” she told an Italian YouTube channel.

Cardia, who was convicted in 2013 for fraudulent bankruptcy, founded a charity to help the sick funded by individual donors, some of whom later said they had been duped.

The diocese launched an investigation in April 2023.

The diocese said Wednesday that its decision was taken “after a suitable period of careful discernment” and after hearing from local witnesses and various experts, including a theologian, a psychologist and an expert on the Virgin Mary.

Bishop Marco Salvi noted that the affair had not increased church participation but in fact had shaken the faith of many churchgoers, creating a “scandalous situation”.

He recommended that Cardia “undertake a journey of purification” in the interests of “ecclesiastical unity”.

Many Catholics have claimed to have seen statues of the Madonna weeping, but only one has been verified by a pope — in 1953, in Syracuse, Sicily.

The Catholic Church allows each diocese to determine the authenticity of these matters on a case-by-case basis.



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