Monday, August 01, 2005

Pilgrims flock to see Naples' 'moving' Madonna statue

Pilgrims flock to see Naples' 'moving' Madonna statue

Thousands of Roman Catholic faithful queued outside a church near Naples yesterday after the congregation reported watching a statue of the Madonna "miraculously" moving in front of them.

Dozens of parishioners at the modern church of San Pietro in the town of Acerra, on the northern outskirts of Naples, recounted seeing the simple plaster and marble statue of the Virgin Mary "become flesh" and move her legs "as if she wanted to approach us". The first sighting of the apparition was made two weeks ago by a group of elderly women reciting the rosary prayer.

... and ...

"You certainly can't stop the Madonna from doing anything she wants," said Don Antonio Riboldi, the Bishop Emeritus of Acerra. "However it is very early to talk of a miracle. I ask myself what it can mean that the Madonna has moved. The Madonna speaks to us wherever she goes. Her message is always the same - convert and believe in the Gospel. The aim of the Madonna is to lead men to God.

"If it is a true miracle it will be the Madonna herself to show it. But we must be careful. One must not give in to the temptation of easy popular religiosity."

Hat tip, Captain Foghat ... It would be easy to make a joke here (I was thinking something along the lines of a Clash of the Titans reference) ... however ... there are only a couple of options of what is truly happening here and none of them are very funny. First, the Madonna could really be appearing to folks through a moving statue. Second, this is a incident of mass hysteria. Third, this is a Machiavellian plot by the tourist industry in Naples. Fourth, a demonic force is creating false miracles to keep many souls on the road to Hell. I vote three.