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Archbishop says weeping statues were fraudulent

Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby told a media conference yesterday that a church investigation has found that oil-seeping and "bleeding" artefacts at a suburban church were fake.

Archbishop Bathersby released the report together with instructions that the main statue and other objects to be removed from public veneration.

Earlier this year, the Vietnamese Community Church in suburban Inala drew thousands of worshippers and prompted Archbishop Bathersby to order the investigation. He called in judicial vicar Dr Adrian Farrelly, who organised high level scientific analysis.

Archbishop Bathersby told yesterday's media conference: "The substance that seeped from the artefacts is very like one that is commercially available and it is possible that the substance was applied to them by human hands. The Commission cannot therefore be satisfied that the phenomenon was, within the proper meaning of the word, a miracle."

The principal statue was x-rayed and the oil samples subjected to analysis by Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy. Analysis of the oil found it to be oil that is readily available from commercial outlets. The red substance found on some of the artefacts was shown not to be blood. The commission also took statements from many people associated with the Centre and the occurrences.

Archbishop Bathersby prefaced his announcement by stressing that "signs and wonders" are a "part of the mission of Christ as a supernatural proof of the presence of the Kingdom of God that he preached. Signs and wonders have continued to accompany the mission of the Church".

He also affirmed the faith and loyalty of the Vietnamese Catholic Community, their prayerfulness and especially "the lively devotion they have to the Mother of Jesus".

A statement by Most Rev John Bathersby DD, Archbishop of Brisbane, at media conference in Brisbane 29 July 2004

Believers reject church findings on 'weeping' statues (The Courier Mail 30/7/04)
Church says 'weeping' statues are fakes (The Advertiser 30/7/04)
Brisbane miracle 'a hoax' (ABC Radio The World Today 29/7/04)
Weeping statue 'not a miracle' (ABC 29/7/04)
"Weeping" statue a fraud, Australian prelate says (Catholic World News 29/7/04)
Archbishop to announce statue probe results this morning (CathNews 29/7/04)
Statue probe to reveal all (Sydney Morning Herald/AAP 28/7/04)
Brisbane miracle investigation report still weeks away (CathNews 9/7/04)
Weeping statue investigation progresses (CathNews 8/6/04)
Retired chemistry professor to examine weeping statues (CathNews 3/6/04)
$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)

30 Jul 2004