$1m offer made for Mary tears

Professional sceptic James Randi has offered the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre $1 million if it can be proven its weeping statue of Mary is supernatural.

The former magician turned full-time sceptic, who lives in Florida, has offered the prize for the past six years to anyone who can show evidence of a paranormal event.

But despite having received hundreds of applications, no one has pocketed the fortune.

Mr Randi said every weeping statue he had investigated had turned out to be a hoax.

“We get claims like this all the time, but people don’t want them to be tested,” Mr Randi said.

“One day I hope someone will take the money and make me look like a fool.”

Mr Randi personally invited the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre to apply for the prize.

He said the criteria he used to investigate paranormal claims were simple.

“If they say they can fly, then fly,” Mr Randi said. “If they say they can heal wounds, then heal wounds – I want to see it.”

The $1 million invitation comes as Catholic leaders begin preparing to test the statue’s authenticity.

Vincent Do, spokesman for the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre, said the church was unaware of the prize and did not intend to apply for it.

The statue was plucked from the Inala church’s altar yesterday and taken to a secret location to be examined. Father Adrian Farrelly, who is leading the Catholic Church’s investigation, said the statue was being examined by a retired professor of chemistry at a prominent Brisbane university.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Courier-Mail, Australia
June 3, 2004
Richard Finnila

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This post was last updated: Monday, November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM, Central European Time (CET)