Text of a Press Statement by Archbishop Bathersby on the Inala Investigation
Before we begin I would just like to say that “signs and wonders” were a part of the mission of Christ as a supernatural proof of the presence of the Kingdom of God that he preached. Signs and wonders have continued to accompany the mission of the Church. The investigation at Inala was not meant to justify the existence of religious signs and wonders, which in the life of the Church is taken for granted, but rather to ascertain whether the apparent signs and wonders that appeared at Inala were of supernatural origin.
At the beginning I would also like to affirm the faith and loyalty of the Vietnamese Catholic Community, their prayerfulness and especially the lively devotion they have to the Mother of Jesus. I know, however, that this faith is based on the love of God revealed in Christ and does not rely on the recent extraordinary occurrences with statues and pious objects at Inala. I am also aware of the impact these events have had on visitors, causing conversions and renewal of faith, and pray that these people would continue to walk with the Lord whom they have come to know more deeply over these days.
I would also like to commend Father Farrelly and his Commission for the thorough investigation it has carried out. It has been meticulous and comprehensive.
On 31 May 2004 I entrusted to Very Rev Dr Adrian Farrelly the task of establishing a commission to investigate the occurrences at Inala to determine if what was happening was of supernatural origin. He has completed his investigations and gave me the report of the commission last Friday. I quote the conclusion:
Does the material the Commission considered demonstrate that the event cannot have been brought about by human power or by the operation of any natural agency?
The answer of the Commission to this critical question is clear. The substance that seeped from the artefacts is very like one that is commercially available and it is possible that the substance was applied to them by human hands. The Commission cannot therefore be satisfied that the phenomenon was, within the proper meaning of the word, a miracle.
The principal statue was x-rayed and the oil samples subjected to analysis by Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy. Analysis of the oil found it to be oil that is readily available from commercial outlets. The red substance found on some of the artefacts was shown not to be blood. The commission also took statements from many people associated with the Centre and the occurrences.
I accept the findings of the commission that it was not satisfied that the phenomenon was of supernatural origin. Given that there is the possibility that human agency could produce the phenomenon then, as Archbishop of Brisbane, I must declare that what has happened at Inala cannot be said to be of supernatural origin.
In light of this I have instructed those charged with governance of the Vietnamese Catholic Community to remove the principal statue and all other objects associated with these occurrences from public veneration. Those objects, not belonging to the Centre, are to be returned to their owners, and the other statues and objects used only for the purpose for which they were originally purchased.
I have asked that a full accounting be made of any monies received during the time of these pilgrimages. I will ask that our Archdiocesan Services should investigate this matter in depth. When that task is completed I shall, in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Vietnamese Catholic Community, make decisions as to where those funds shall be directed.