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Church probe concludes statue tears are vegetable oil

A Perth Archdiocesan inquiry into the weeping Virgin Mary statue found the fibreglass figurine was shedding vegetable oil tears.

Archbishop Barry Hickey said investigators could not find evidence of a divine origin nor of a miracle - even though it could be.

The commission of inquiry, which comprised a microbiologist, doctor, lawyer and Catholic priest, was set up in November to test claims the 70cm statue was weeping after being put on display at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in March last year.

An analysis of the oily residue that covered the face and front of the statue showed it was a vegetable oil, probably olive oil, mixed with another substance to produce a rose fragrance. The figurine did not weep while under observation by the commission. It began to weep again on December 15 after being returned to its owner Patty Powell, who bought it in Bangkok eight years ago.

"An analysis of the oil showed that it was a mixture of two oils," Archbishop Hickey said. "It could be of divine origin, but it also could be the result of human intervention. To be a miracle you have to be able to eliminate all other possible interpretations and we haven't been able to do this in this case. I'm not saying it wasn't a miracle, I'm saying we have insufficient proof. Many will go on believing it is, but that is up to them."

The archbishop said that the statue could not be publicly venerated within the churches and church properties in the Archdiocese of Perth.

The West Australian

Archdiocese of Perth | Weeping Statue Finding: Statement by the Catholic Archbishop of Perth
Church rules WA's weeping Virgin is not a miracle (The Age)
Mary's tears not an official miracle, church rules (ABC)
Weeping statue 'not a miracle' (The Australian)

27 Feb 2003