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Moment of truth for weeping statue devotees

Latest medical technology will help experts prove whether a weeping statue of the Virgin Mary is a miracle or a hoax.

The fibreglass figure, which is on display near Perth, will undergo a computer scan tomorrow as part of a Church investigation.

The use of computer tomography, an imaging tool used to scrutinise human organs and build three-dimensional maps of the body, may explain how oil is excreted from the statue.

X-ray testing of the statue in September failed to locate the origin of the "tears", believed to be a mixture of olive and rose oil.

Archbishop of Perth Barry Hickey announced last month that a three-member team would spend four weeks investigating the statue, which has been weeping for more than 100 days.

The appointed "miracle investigators" are University of WA microbiologist Thelma Koppi, Fr Kevin Long and Catholic surgeon Michael Shanahan.

The fibreglass figurine was bought by Patty Powell, of Rockingham near Perth, in Bangkok eight years ago.

Sunday Mail

Medical scan for crying statue (Sunday Times)
Perth Archbishop announces inquiry into weeping Madonna statue (25/11/02)
Miracle attributed to Perth statue tears (29/10/02)
Tests on crying Madonna fail to show hoax (13/9/02)
Tests show weeping statue of Virgin Mary is no hoax (Catholic Weekly 29/9/02)
Weeping statue put to the Test (Today Tonight 12/9/02)
A suburban miracle (Today Tonight 9/9/02)
Expert pours cold water on Perth's miracle Madonna (Ananova)
Weeping Statue (Catholic Weekly 22/9/02)
Why weepest thou (Editorial, Catholic Weekly 29/9/02)

2 Dec 2002