by Marco Corvaglia
Go to the page One-Sided Doctors [Part 1]
§ 4. Those who are "charmed" by the visionaries...
The study group of the A.R.PA. (Associazione Regina della Pace [Queen of Peace Association]) was founded on March 28, 1985 by a few Italian doctors belonging to the movement of Communion and Liberation (a few "outsiders" joined them, such as Dr. Marco Margnelli). This does not appear accidental, since "Il Sabato", the weekly magazine of Communion and Liberation, had published seven articles in support of Medjugorje in the period from 17 October 1981 to 6 December 1983.
The following video interview with Vicka was performed in December 1984 at the home of the seer, by a member of the A.R.PA., orthopedist Luciano Cappello, from Varese. He had only witnessed, as a simple pilgrim, three apparitions during that very year (see Frigerio et al., Dossier scientifico su Medjugorje, Associazione Regina della Pace, 1986, p. 18).
What everyone can see is that the doctor addresses Vicka not as a researcher interested in doing a critical investigation, but as an "admirer" of the seer and a devotee of Our Lady of Medjugorje (besides, cardiologist Mario Botta, from Milan, collaborator of the same study group, already in March of 1983 used to observe [cf. R. Laurentin, H. Joyeux, Scientific and Medical Studies on the Apparitions at Medjugorje, Veritas, Dublin, 1987, p. 16] fasting on Wednesday and Friday, as requested by the Gospa, and the head of the group, gynecologist Luigi Frigerio, had gone on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in April 1983 [cf. Frigerio, Dossier scientifico, p. 7] two years before starting medical tests on the visionaries).
As an example, Dr. Cappello (addressing the interpreter) says [at 0:49]:
In May, when we were here, we were very surprised because she [Vicka] told us that she prayed at least four hours a day. So, after much discussion and after much effort, we figured out how we can get it. We would like that our engagement really lasts for our whole life, with greater intensity.
Or [at 6:24]:
We know that she and her companions had the extraordinary visions of hell and heaven. We know, for example, that Ivanka saw her mother in heaven.
In that period Vicka claimed that Our Lady was dictating her life to her (see The Life of the Madonna). The doctor says [at 4:25]:
We know that she’s receiving the account of the Madonna as Mother of the Savior, and many times we see her smiling in the videos, but we know that the story of the mother of the Savior wasn’t only pleasure, joy, satisfaction: there were moments of great suffering. But we see her smiling. Why?
Vicka answers (at 5:57):
When I am with the Madonna, I always smile. I think, no matter what she narrates, I always smile. Whether it is something good or something ugly, I always smile.
[Original version: Kad je uz Gospom, uvik se smijem. Mislim, bez obzira šta pričala da pričala, ja se vazda smijem. Ili dobro ili loše, isto.]
And the doctor says with a smile:
It 's very beautiful.
The third study group (1998) produced a dossier in which a member of the team, Dr. Giovanni Li Rosi, gynecologist at the hospital of Varese and hypnosis expert, wrote:
I had never been to Medjugorje nor had I planned to go there. But, as reported by colleagues and other people, who had gone several times to the place of the apparitions, and from the numerous press reports, I had the idea that something very particularly significant was happening in that land.
[Resch, Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, p. 17]
The opinion the doctor had already formed, based on anecdotes, clearly influences the way in which he sees the visionaries. Here is the lyricism with which he describes Marija’s apparition of April 23, 1998 (that took place in Capiago Intimiano, Italy):
A few tens of seconds and everything ends. Marija comes back to reality. We open the doors of the hall and her children run towards her. She looks happy. She is happy. She looks around and looks at us with a smile. She see us busy and seems almost willing to apologize for all the work, for our discomfort for an incredible experience completely hers.
But it is so.
[Ibid., p. 25]
§ 5. Dr. Marco Margnelli
The neurologist Dr. Marco Margnelli joined both the second (A.R.PA., 1985) and the third (1998) research groups on Medjugorje as a scientific consultant. His position appears contradictory (see Science Demonstrates Nothing, § 5. Conclusions).
However, Dr. Margnelli lent his support and credentials to many endorsers of New Age practices, including pranotherapists, and even to the controversial Friar Elia, an exponent of a peculiar blend of New Age and Christianity (Margnelli’s tests on Elia are discussed in a report, in italian, by Silvana Radoani). According to his official biography, Elia (who, despite his self-awarded title, is not a friar) prescribes “raw champignon mushrooms” to patients affected by liver cancer. He also claims that on Friday nights his angels make his bed while he “waits for the souls of his dear departed” [Fiorella Turolli, Un angelo con le stigmate si è fermato a casa mia ("An angel carrying the stigmata stopped by my house"), Segno, Udine, 2001, pp. 13 and 148].
Dr. Margnelli “verified” Elia’s therapeutic abilities by means of an unorthodox procedure known as Kirlian photography. If one takes a picture of a hand while the hand is connected to a high-voltage and low-amperage electrical source, the film will eventually show some colored halos around the hand. These halos are caused by gas molecules in the environment, which become ionized in the electric field. As a matter of fact, such halos show up independently of the subject of the picture, and even if the picture portrays an inanimate object.
Dr. Margnelli, however, sides up with pranotherapists—who routinely hang Kirlian pictures in their offices, and maintain that they detect “vital aura” or “bioplasma” (incidentally, none of these concepts have any meaning for official scientists). After examining Elia’s pictures, he concluded that “the entire hand surface radiates pranic energy” [Turolli, Un angelo con le stigmate si è fermato a casa mia, p. 53].
Let us quote Dr. Margnelli’s own words:
My bizarre curiosity and the extravagant originality of my thought had already isolated me from the scientific community when I was a researcher. However, after I left the National Research Council, I found myself completely alone.
[Marco Margnelli, Le stigmate, ("The Stigmata"), Segno, Udine, 2004, p. 8]
Updated on 11 July 2016