Teary Statue A Fraud? Officially Yes But Alleged Video Raises Questions
Is it a fraud or not? On Monday, the Viet Nam News Agency reported that a local Church official, Father Huynh Cong Minh, General Representative of the Ho Chi Minh City diocese and head of the local cathedral, said that there was nothing to claims that a statue of Mary in front of the cathedral has been weeping.
Father Minh asserted that "as the statue stands in the open, rains often leave various marks on the dusty statue," according to the news agency, and complained that rumors of the supernatural have caused disorder and traffic jams. He asked followers during Mass Sunday not to believe in the reports.
Those "rumors" began when observers saw a white mark on one of the cheeks of the statue in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, drawing thousands of curious to the site last weekend (on October 29 and 30).
But now is a video that if authentic (and in the world of the internet, the operative word is "if") seems to cast doubt on quite so quick an explanation. The video clip, circulated in blogs, seems to show a clear streak of what looks like tears flowing from the right eye of the Virgin, and while a funneling of rainfall could be an explanation, why there are no signs of rain dripping from any other part of the statue's face -- if it was even raining at the time of the video -- is a mystery, for the time being. In the video the crowd does not seem to exhibit behavior indicative of rain.
The final outcome will be followed with intense interest at a moment in Church history when priests and bishops have appeared to be unusually skeptical and at a time when hundreds of similar claims have been made around the world, many rejected without investigation. The statue shows the Blessed Mother holding the globe and is fashioned after the famous appearance of Mary to St. Catherine Laboure during the Miraculous Medal apparitions in Paris, apparitions often interpreted as beginning the current phase of warnings.
[For history of Marian phenomena, see The Last Secret]
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