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Retired chemistry professor to examine weeping statues

A retired chemistry professor has been recruited by the Church to determine whether religious objects in a small Brisbane church are actually bleeding and weeping.

The Courier Mail reports that judicial vicar and investigator Dr Adrian Farrelly said the professor may be able to provide a scientific explanation for the phenomenon which many have hailed as miracle.

"We've got a retired professor of chemistry," Dr Farrelly said today. "He wants to remain private, given the sensitivities of the matter. He's not Catholic, he's agnostic, but he's got the required skills I need."

Thousands of people, from as far away as Melbourne and New Zealand, have flocked to the Vietnamese Community Church in the south-western Brisbane suburb of Inala to view religious objects, including crucifixes and a statue of the Virgin Mary, which have either bled or leaked rose oil over the past three weeks.

Dr Farrelly, an expert in church law who also ministers in the inner north Brisbane suburb of Clayfield, said he had not investigated weeping statues before.

He had no idea when the investigation might be finished or when he could hand his report to Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby.

The abnormalities began when rose oil started flowing from the eyes, nose, forehead and fingers of a statue of the Virgin Mary. A small cross on the altar has also bled, as have religious figurines.

Archbishop Bathersby has said a similar inquiry in Western Australia last year had taken two months but it found the phenomena did not meet the criteria of a miracle.

Expert examines weeping statues (The Australian/AAP 2/6/04)

$1m offer made for Mary tears (The Courier Mail 3/6/04)
Weeping statues, crucifixes - Brisbane church inquiry (Catholic Weekly 6/6/04)
Weeping Mary draws faithful (CathNews 31/5/04)
Inala priest says faith rose to the occasion (The Courier Mail 29/5/04)
Archbishop Bathersby announces weeping statue investigation (CathNews 26/5/04)
Church to investigate 'miracle statue' (The Courier Mail 25/5/04)
Church considers 'weeping' Mary statue probe (ABC 25/5/04)
Church Investigates Weeping Statues (Reuters 25/5/04)
Crowds flock to see 'weeping' religious icons (CathNews 24/5/04)

3 Jun 2004