Court Finds No Deceit With Weeping
"Virgin of Civitavecchia" Continues to Draw Visitors
ROME, MAR. 20, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A
judge found no evidence of deceit or trickery involved with a statue of the
Blessed Virgin that witnesses, including a bishop, say weeps blood.
Fabio Gregori, a worker in Civitavecchia, a city near Rome, had declared
publicly that the statue wept blood in February 1995. The statue had been
brought to his house by Spanish priest Pablo Martin from Medjugorje.
case received wide media coverage and brought thousands of visitors to the
garden of Gregori's home, where the statue was first placed, and later to the
nearby church where it was later taken.
A consumer-protection group,
Codacons, along with another group, Anti-Plagiarism Telephone, denounced Gregori
before Judge Carmine Castaldo of Civitavecchia. Gregori, an electrician, was
accused of association to commit offense, fraud, and abuse of people's
credulity. The judge on Monday ruled that there was no trickery involved in the
Bishop Girolamo Grillo of Civitavecchia said: "Six years ago, I
got angry because I felt the magistrate was interfering unduly in ecclesiastical
questions. However, they haven't found anything, and they have had to close the
case. It is further confirmation, offered by third parties who are above
suspicion, that following the phenomenon of the tears, there was no deceit.
Today I say: Let's hope that the world will at least believe the court."
Bishop Grillo admitted he was initially skeptical when he first heard
"One week after the announcement of the first weeping,
I told the parish priest to get a hammer and destroy the little statue," the
bishop said. "He hid it, entrusting it to Mr. Gregori's brother. Then I took
custody of it to clarify the case, and the statue wept while I held it in my
Bishop Grillo reports that an average of 3,500 pilgrims a week
visit the church that houses the statue. Five Masses are celebrated in the
church on Saturdays, and seven on Sundays.
The accused was also pleased.
"I am happy that the case has been closed, but in conscience I must say that I
was always absolutely at peace," Fabio Gregori stressed. "I was prepared to face
an eventual sentence so long as I could defend the truth to the end."
The electrician remembers the many searches to which his home was
subjected. However, "I have never felt this judicial matter as a weight," he
said. "My life as a husband and father of a family has not changed; my Christian
being has changed profoundly."
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith is analyzing the case of the weeping statue. At Bishop Grillo's request,
the Vatican congregation is allowing faithful to visit the statue.