View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Physicist: Guadalupe Tilma Can't Be "Explained"

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Unborn. As we gear up for another 40 Days campaign, and combat the pro-choice agenda of the Obama administration, the Tilma that bears Our Lady's image is in the news.

According to an August 7 Catholic News Agency report, Dr. Aldofo Orozco told participants at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe that there is no scientific explanation for the preservation of the Tilma for 478 years, or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation.

A researcher and physicist, Dr. Orozco said of the Tilma (the cloak of St. Juan Diego), “All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years.

He noted that one 1789 painting of the image, was on display in a church near the basilica where the Tilma was placed.

“This painting was made with the best techniques of its time, the copy was beautiful and made with a fabric very similar to that of the Tilma. Also, the image was protected with a glass since it was first placed there,” he said.

But just eight years later, the copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was thrown away because the colors were fading and threads were breaking. In contrast, he said, “the original Tilma was exposed for approximately 116 years without any kind of protection, receiving all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it and exposed to the humid and salty air around the temple.”

He also pointed out that while the back side is rough and coarse, but the front side is ‘as soft as the most pure silk."

He also discussed two miracles associated with the Tilma.

In 1785, a worker accidentally spilled a nitric acid solvent on the right side of the cloth. “Besides any natural explanation, the acid has not destroyed the fabric of the cloth, indeed it has not even destroyed the colored parts of the image,” Orozco said.
And in 1921, there was an explosion of a bomb near the Tilma. He said the explosion broke the marble floor and widows 150 meters from the explosion, but “unexpectedly, neither the Tilma nor the normal glass that protected the Tilma was damaged or broken.”

The only damage near it was a brass crucifix that was twisted by the blast.

He observed, “There are no explanations why the shockwave that broke windows 150 meters afar did not destroy the normal glass that protected the image. Some people said that the Son by means of the brass crucifix protected the image of His Mother. The real fact is that we don’t have a natural explanation for this event.”


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