Pizza miracle: Italy’s pizza ‘miracle’ prompts Vatican to act – Times of India

On the third of every month, hundreds of worshipers gather on a wind-swept field in a village near Rome, where they worship an idol Virgin Mary Crying tears of blood.
They also come to see the 53-year-old woman who they believe has been performing miracles and healing the sick since she brought the statue home from a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Many Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary has been appearing since 1981.
gisella cardia It is claimed that this statue was responsible for giving a modern twist to the miracle of the loaves and fishes of Christ, who fed visitors to his home in Trevignano Romano a never-ending supply of pizza.
“It was a pizza for four people and 25 of us ate it. It never gets smaller,” he told an Italian YouTube channel. “we were wondering!”
On another occasion, Cardia claimed to have fed others leftover gnocchi, which would never finish, no matter how much she ate.
Believers say Cardia is a visionary, claiming she predicted the war and the COVID pandemic in Ukraine, her body bearing the stigmata of Christ’s wounds from the crucifixion.
In a country where three-quarters of the population still identify as Catholic, the case has rekindled the public’s fascination with the supernatural – even more so because it has echoes of a hit television series, “The Miracle.”
But many in wealthy, picturesque Trevignano deeply suspect it of a “huge scam”, some almost coming to blows with the hordes of pilgrims who arrive each month.
“If it is not true – which I believe is probably the case – people’s weakness would have been abused when so many people are fragile,” pensioner Maria-Alessandra Conti told AFP.
The 72-year-old said, “And that makes me angry. There are too many disturbing elements.”
Chief among them is Cardia’s conviction for bankruptcy fraud in 2013 and the charity set up by the former businesswoman to help the sick.
Although it has swelled with donations – one person gave 123,000 euros ($134,000) – some say their generosity has been misused.
Then in March a private detective said tests showed the statue’s tears were pig blood. Prosecutors are now investigating Cardia, and the temple he had set up on a hill outside the village, facing Lake Bracciano, has been threatened with demolition.
The local Catholic bishop, Monsignor Marco Salvi, has ordered his clergy to have nothing to do with the shrine, and told the faithful to stay away.
A Church Commission of Inquiry made up of independent experts is now probing the incident.
But Father Salvatore Perrella, the influential head of a religious group dedicated to the study of the Virgin Mary in Rome, did not hide his hostility.
“We have known for some time that this so-called visionary was not credible at all,” he told AFP.
“Trevignano should not be counted among the apparitions” of the Virgin Mary.
Yet pilgrims continue to flock to the hilltop shrine of Cardia, with its altar, large blue cross and nearly life-size statue of the Virgin.
Crying since the “Virgin of the Tears” in Syracuse, Sicily in 1953 – the only crying statue that anyone has acknowledged Pope — Italy has seen countless strange or unexplained incidents surrounding religious statues.
The oldest and best known is the cult of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, a vial of whose blood is liquefied three times a year according to popular tradition.
Beyond Italy, as far as Akita in Japan and Naju in South Korea, statues have been reported to secrete water, oil or perfume.
The Catholic Church says some are “scientifically unclear”.
Scientists say many have plausible explanations such as condensation, peeling off of varnish or a chemical reaction between paint and air.
However, “science cannot shake faith,” said sociologist Romy Souvere of France’s CRNS, who is an expert in faith.
“Scientists can say whatever they want and (the faithful) will not believe them because they have felt it and seen it with their own eyes.”
While Pope Francis warned in June against certain “apparitions” in a slightly oblique reference to the “Virgin of Trevignano”, some of his predecessors have not been so reticent. John Paul II was a supporter of another “miraculous” plaster statue of Medjugorje, which since 1995 has been drawing crowds to Civitavecchia, an hour’s drive from Trevignano.
A family there claims to have seen it crying tears of blood on 14 different occasions.
Although never officially recognized by the Vatican, enthusiasm for the statue has not waned over the years, with the statue being placed in a church on the edge of the port city north of Rome.
Photos displayed inside show her cheeks red with blood, outside there are tents set up to welcome visitors, and vendors selling religious icons and effigies of the Virgin.
However, analysis of the blood revealed that it came from a man. However, the men in the family that own the idol refuse to undergo a DNA test.
On the other side of the Adriatic in Medjugorje, where both sculptures were made, locals strongly believe events to have taken place there since 1981.
Every day, 20 employees of Ivan Perutina make about 400 sculptures from a mixture of powdered stone and synthetic resins, which are famous for their resistance to all weather conditions.
Perutina told AFP that he had been making them for two decades and had “heard some things that were out of the ordinary”.
Like the customers in Portugal who reported that one sculpture smelled of roses and lavender, even though “we didn’t add anything to it,” he insisted. A worker said, the small idols are solid, so nothing can be put inside them.
When asked if there was any way they could be tampered with, Perutina replied, “Oh no! God save us from that!”
The Catholic Church is wary of these matters, and leaves it to its dioceses to adjudicate.
Father Perella said, “One cannot believe the trust of the people at all.” “Because of its experience in these situations, the Vatican is very rigorous and calls on the bishops to be equally rigorous in their investigations.”
In April, the Vatican created the Observatory for Apparitions and Mysterious Phenomena Related to Images of the Virgin Mary to help bishops because “many people do not know how to deal with the subject,” its president, Father Stefano Cecchin, told AFP.
There is a complete protocol to follow, said its director, Sister Daniela del Gaudio.
Before taking a decision on a matter, “the commission (of inquiry) questions the main characters… Its members, who are doctors and lawyers etc., have their own abilities and it proceeds in a scientific manner. You should also understand its ethics” Have to see visionary, as well as his physical and psychological condition.
He said, “The Church believes in the supernatural, but it also has to be very judicious.”
Experts say these types of incidents also increase in times of war and crisis, which tend to thrive along with conspiracy theories and disinformation.
Professor Roberto Francesco Scallone, a religion expert at the University of Turin, said some people are always convinced that “they are living in prophetic times.”
“When there is a lot of uncertainty because of a pandemic or economic problems, people look for answers and hope,” said fellow sociologist Souvre.
Despite the scandal associated with it, the group behind the Virgin of Trevignano is still calling on the faithful to gather at the shrine on the third of every month, even though numbers have dwindled in July. “Don’t pay attention to the rumours,” one of its leaders told AFP. “Fake news is everywhere these days.”