The Vatican plans to inspect hundreds of statues of St Mary around the world captured weeping blood as part of a push to investigate the world’s “mystical phenomena”. Leaders of the Pontifical Mariana International Academy (PAMI), a specialist observatory that claims to work as a scientific arm of the Holy See – the Pope’s jurisdiction in Rome – have outlined the broad brief of paranormal activity its members will scrutinise. Mariologist Father Gian Matteo Roggio said that PAMI’s Observatory Scientific Committee will send people to look into ghost sightings, interior locutions – private revelations – and stigmata, which have long fascinated people around the world.
They will specifically investigate phenomena known as Mariophanies, alleged supernatural incidents involving the Virgin Mary.
Speaking to local media, committee member Father Stefano Cecchin said the observatory would “activate national and international commissions to evaluate and study apparitions and mystical phenomena reported in various areas of the world”.
The church already investigates reports of supernatural phenomena, with people frequently claiming to witness miraculous events, such as statues crying blood.
The observatory has already paid close attention to one such case, an allegedly weeping statue owned by a woman in Trevignano Romano, a town to the Italian capital’s northwest.
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Gisella Cardia was investigated for fraud after she claimed her statue of Our Lady of Trevignano Romano was “weeping” blood, and could multiply gnocchi and pizza.
Ms Cardia received tens of thousands of Euros in donations from followers who believed she had brought messages from Mary and predicted the Covid pandemic.
But church investigators ultimately concluded the blood leaking from her statue came from a pig and was therefore not holy.
Local media reports state that officials believe she has since fled.
The case is one of many the church has previously investigated, with officials noting a surge in requests for exorcisms following the pandemic.
Father Roggio, who has built a career studying the Virgin Mary, said there are “around a hundred ongoing phenomena” the church is “following closely”.
He told local Italian media that many do not “receive attention from the media and the general public”.
Father Cecchin said the observatory also plans to promote “training activities”, “high dissemination”, and “trans-disciplinary research activities” while working with academic institutions, local churches and bishops.
But PAMI’s specialist group is yet to receive official authenticity from the Vatican.
The organisation must receive a ruling granting a pronouncement from the ecclesiastical authorities before it can work as an official body.
PAMI is already an officially recognised body dedicated to studying “Marian science and devotion in Catholic and Ecumenical circles”.
The new committee will begin its first session on Saturday, April 15.