Skip to comments.Scientists certify Our Lady of Guadalupe tilma
Posted on 06/17/2007 2:37:44 PM PDT by NYer
In 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to Mexican peasant Juan Diego. To prove to all that the apparitions were real, the Virgin imprinted an image of herself on Juan Diego's tilma, a thin cloth made of cactus fibres.
This type of tilma normally decays in 30 to 40 years. But Juan Diego's tilma is still miraculously intact and the same as it was when he wore it.
Over the centuries, many have expressed doubts about the divinity of the image, but Prof. Victor Campa Mendoza has no doubt whatsoever.
"This is not a human act but an act of God," he says in Spanish, adding he has accumulated enough evidence to prove it.
The first is in Revelation chapter 12 which speaks about a woman remarkably similar to Our Lady of Guadalupe, including the fact she was accompanied by the sun, the stars and the moon and that she was pregnant.
According to the Nahualt culture, Juan Diego's culture, Our Lady is pregnant in the tilma. This is clear by the shape of her waist and by the four-petal flower resting on her womb, which in Nahualt culture is a symbol of pregnancy, Mendoza said.
A professor of ethics at the Technological Institute of Durango, Mexico, Mendoza has done extensive analysis and research on Juan Diego's tilma for the past 30 years and has written several books on Our Lady of Guadalupe, including the Mantle Codex, the Nican Mopohua and his latest, Guadalupan.
He is currently on a speaking tour of several U.S. and Canadian cities. Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wainwright sponsored his trip to Alberta. He made presentations at parishes in Edmonton, Wainwright, Lloydminster and Vegreville.
In a brief interview in Spanish and during a PowerPoint presentation for 35 people at St. Martin's Parish in Vegreville June 12, Mendoza spoke candidly about Our Lady and gave further evidence of the supernatural origin of her image. He used a large canvass of Our Lady for the presentation and with a large ruler he pointed to details in the image.
Carlos Lara of Wainwright, who interpreted the presentation, said in his native Mexico Our Lady is popular and nobody questions the divinity of the tilma. But presentations like Mendoza's are necessary for skeptical westerners.
Mendoza noted Our Lady's tilma shows the radiant rays of the sun surrounding her as she appeared, wearing a blue-green mantle that depicts the universe.
Also fascinating is the pattern of stars strewn across her mantle. According to Mendoza the pattern mirrors the exact position of constellations on the day her image appeared on the tilma, Dec. 12, 1531. He used a graph to prove it.
It has been found that by imposing a topographical map of central Mexico on the Virgin's dress, the mountains, rivers and principal lakes coincide with the decoration on this dress, he said.
The fact that the tilma has remained perfectly preserved since 1531 is a miracle in itself, according to Mendoza. After more than four centuries, Juan Diego's tilma retains the same freshness and the same lively colour as when it was new.
Analysis shows that there is no trace of drawing or sketching under the colour, even though perfectly recognizable retouches were done on the original.
He said a professor from NASA conducted an independent analysis in 1979 and concluded that there is no way to explain the quality of the pigments used for the pink dress, the blue veil, the face and the hands, the permanence of the colours, or the vividness of the colours after several centuries, during which they ordinarily should have deteriorated.
Much research has also been conducted regarding mysterious images that appear in Our Lady's eyes. The images reflected in her retinas are of the moment when she left her imprint on Juan Diego's tilma and Mendoza showed enlarged pictures of those images.
Peruvian Jose Aste Tonsmann, an expert in digital image processing, produced them. The figures in Our Lady's eyes' reflection show the people historically known to have been present at the unveiling of the tilma in 1531 - Bishop Zumarraga, his interpreter, Juan Diego and several family members.
Further proof of the supernatural origin of the tilma comes from St. Luke, who in 71 AD painted a portrait of Our Lady that is remarkably similar to Our Lady of Guadalupe, noted Mendoza. "This is a true sign that this an act of God," he said.
Do you really think that insulting language like this accomplishes anything, or wins anyone to your point of view?
I just looked at "The Cult of the Virgin Mary" by Michael Carroll and on page 183 he states;
"The greatest stumbling block to anyone searching for the psychological origins of the Tepeyac apparitions is the fact that there are no accounts of these apparitions that date from the period of the apparitions themselves. There are, for instance, no references to any apparitions occurring at Tepeyac in the writings of Bishop Zumarraga, even though he was supposed to have been a central participant in the drama."
If this is accurate it would seem that the "need" for these apparitions superceeds objective analysis.
It's not "pretty clear" and I strongly believe this is an absolutely wrong interpretation. To say it's a "package deal" is nothing more that a Co-Redemptix view and assumes God was incapable of bringing our Lord Jesus into the world any other way; that God needed help to bring about the birth of Christ. I would not make that "assumption". I think God can be a bit creative when He wants to be.
There is nothing in scripture that parades Mary around after the death of Christ. The apostles don't even mention her. Clearly if Mary was so significant to attracting followers then one wonders why there wasn't more history about a church that she started.
And if you go to the Basilica of Guadalupe (or any other Catholic church) you can't help but notice ...
How many Catholic churches have you been in overseas? I have been to quite a few. Nothing personal but I find Catholic churches in Third World countries border on the occult.
I didn't mean to be insulting. Would you prefer that I say the Marian doctrine of the Catholic Church, as it stands today, is built upon no scriptural or historical traditions, a tissue of distorted theology and experiences from questionable individuals that cannot verify where they have received their visions from? Would that win you to my view? It's true but somehow I doubt you will be persuaded.
Campion; a couple years ago, maybe less, you told me that for RC's you view a disagreement with your church's doctrines/dogma as an attack on your faith. I am a Baptist and we question everything and test it against what Scripture says. It is easier to persuade a Baptist than a RC because we do not associate our faith with a particular church.
bumpus ad summum
Cloth evaluation aside, a more basic question is how does one know this was Our Lady of Guadalupe?
The short answer is that it has been carefully guarded (but not preserved since 1531). Many Native Americans have touched the cloth before it was put under control probably about 200 years ago. It is a miracle in itself that this piece of cactus cloth did not disentegrate from the handling over about 200 years... But miracles occurred because of the image, and that is why it has been carefully guarded since December, 1531...
Since you ask the question, there are two. Long before the miraculous appearance on the tilma in Mexico City, there was a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain.
In fact, after Cortez conquered Montezuma and his people (in Mexico City), when Cortez returned to Spain, he spent 9 days in front of the statue in Spain (Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain).
Of course, there was no Mexico City in existence when Cortez conquered the Aztecs. It was their city with pyramids and altars for human sacrifice...
The image (Our Lady of Guadalupe [Mexico City]))had a special meaning to the Native Americans. When the miraculous event occurred, runners when from village to village drawing the image. It was understood by the images, as the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico City) has special things that Native Americans understood.
For example, the BLACK QUARTER MOON that the woman is standing on is one of the Native Americans gods.
The fact that the woman is bowing to a higher being meant to the Native Americans that they worshipped a false god.
One way to know is that the original was painted over by the Native American Indians to make her look more like them...
There are a number of certified miracles associated with the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico City) -- an Indian was killed by accident by some celebrations regarding the image (being shot by an arrow). The person was brought before the image and came back to life.
The other occurred in the 1920s when the FREE MASONS tried to blow up the image, but even with powerful explosives, they did not even crack the glass (it was not protected by bullet proof glass back then)...
From your source: This is the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe as recorded by Luis Lasso de la Vega in 1649, a translation from the Nahuatl indian dialect. This was written 118 years after the event.
Though your source is good, it is the third and later telling of the story of Guadalupe. The following is taken from the first and oldest account, written about 1540, nine years after the events occurred.
The following account of the five apparitions in three days is based on the oldest written record of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Nican Mopohua, written in Nahuatl about 1540 by Don Antonio Valeriano, one of the first Aztec Indians educated by the Franciscans at the Bishop's Colegio de la Santa Cruz.
"I am the Virgin Mary, Mother of the one true God, of Him who gives life. He is Lord and Creator of heaven and of earth.
I desire that there be built a temple at this place where I want to manifest Him, make him known, give Him to all people through my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection.
I truly am your merciful Mother, your Mother and the Mother of all who dwell in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, and of those who seek and place their trust in me. Here I shall listen to their weeping and their sorrows. I shall take them all to my heart, and I shall cure their many sufferings, afflictions, and sorrows.
So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Lord Bishop all that you have seen and heard."
Notice the bolded section. It is not recounted in the later source. Most importantly, notice that Our Lady does not request that a temple be built in her honor but that she desires to "manifest Him, make him known, give Him to all people". Also take note that she does so "through my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection".
The story of Guadalupe is much more than Mary's appearance to Juan Diego and the events that followed. Fifteen hundred years earlier, Mary said yes to the angel Gabriel and 9 months later brought forth her first-born son. She did this through her love, compassion, help and protection to manifest Him, make Him known and give Him to all the people. In 1531, she brought Christmas to the New World again desiring to manifest Him, make Him known, give Him to all people through her love, compassion, help, and protection. Thus she brought glory to God by bringing Him to the New World.
Would this satisfy as coming from the period of the apparations thenselves?
"The following account of the five apparitions in three days is based on the oldest written record of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Nican Mopohua, written in Nahuatl about 1540 by Don Antonio Valeriano, one of the first Aztec Indians educated by the Franciscans at the Bishop's Colegio de la Santa Cruz."
From the same source: "He (Juan Diego) died peacefully on May 30, 1548 and was buried at Tepeyac. Bishop Zumarrage died only three days after Juan Diego."
Appears that Don Antonio Valeriano wrote of the apparations while Juan Diego and Bishop Zumarrage were still among the living. Yet we accept the accounts of Jesus eventhough the New testament was written some 30+ years after He ascended into Heaven.
There are, for instance, no references to any apparitions occurring at Tepeyac in the writings of Bishop Zumarraga, even though he was supposed to have been a central participant in the drama."
So that proves that Guadalupe did not occur? Doesn't this college professor know that an argument from silence is useless and proves nothing. All he has is conjecture.
"The greatest stumbling block to anyone searching for the psychological origins of the Tepeyac apparitions"
No, the greatest stumbling block is searching for psychological origins rather than searching for the spiritual origins, or better yet, having faith that God deigned, through the Virgin Mary, to manifest Himself to the Indian people of Mexico.
Some may think that the major and Church confirmed apparations of the Blessed Virgin Mary are rooted in psychosis. Fine, go ahead. Just don't be suprised when we get the following scholarly study:
The Cult of the Jesus, and on page 183 it states:
The greatest stumbling block to anyone searching for the psychological origins of the life of Jesus is the fact that there are no accounts of his life that date from the period of his life. There are, for instance, no references to his life in the writings of his mother Mary, even though she was supposed to have been a central participant in the drama."
Sorry, but all that your author proves is that he is wacky.
Virgin of Guadalupe a Fraud, Says Abbot
by Conrad Goeringer [June 10, 1996]
"Debate, accusations and anger erupted last week throughout Mexico amidst charges that "the Mother of all Mexicans" -- the Virgin of Guadalupe -- is a legend or hoax. Abbot Guillermo Schulemburg, who operates the enormous Mexico City basilica build in honor of the minor deity, was quoted in an Italian magazine as saying that the peasant Juan Diego (to whom the Virgin supposedly appeared) never existed. According to Reuters, that admission is having the effect of "casting the entire legend into doubt."
"According to the legend, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Diego on a hilltop near Mexico City -- a site which, coincidentally, was sacred to Aztec Indians who populated the region. The dark-skinned apparition supposedly told Juan Diego to construct a temple in her honor; she was soon dubbed the Virgin of Guadalupe, referring to an Aztec term "Coatlallope" which means "the one who crushed the serpent."
"All of which is interesting, especially to religious skeptics who see various social and political factors at work in constructing the legend -- not a metaphysical apparition. Present-day Mexico City sits on top of the old Aztec Island capitol once known as Tenochtitlan. After the founding of the city, the theocratic empire quickly absorbed neighboring tribal groups through a series of "flower wars", and eventually included a good portion of modern Mexico and ranged as far south as Guatamala. In 1521, the Spaniard Hernando Cortes forged an alliance with discontented tribes, and crushed the "Triple Alliance" which ruled the Aztec state.
"While the Aztec empire was warlike and practiced religious rituals of blood sacrifice, Cortes and his Catholic missionaries began their own bloody campaign to dismantle the culture and enslave the population. Huge amounts of gold were appropriated and shipped to Spain (or ended up as sunken treasure which is still sought today.)
"Meanwhile, Christian missionaries began mass-conversion of the newly colonized Indians, and started to graft Catholic rituals and symbols onto the old religious metaphors. The giant Aztec Temple of the Sun was demolished, and rubble from it and other structures was used to fill in the surrounding swampland, including Lake Texcoco. On the site of the old Temple was erected an enormous Catholic cathedral.
"With the political colonization complete, Catholic authorities moved to finish off the social, religious and mental colonization of the indigenous peoples. Was the "Virgin of Guadalupe" part of this process?
"Today, the Virgin is a national symbol. Notes Reuters: "Known simply as 'La Virgen' throughout Mesoamerica, her image, which miraculously appeared on Juan Diego's cloak, is standard decoration in any Mexican home or car." The site of the alleged apparition was earlier a shrine devoted to the worship of the Indian goddess, Tonantzin, known as "Our Mother."
"The Abbot Tells All: The recent flap began when the Mexican daily paper Reforma quoted Abbot Schulemburg as saying: "(Juan Diego) is a symbol, not a reality." The abbot, who is now 81, then claimed he was misquoted, and Archbishop Sergio Obeso Rivera commented that: "The statement of the abbot must have been misinterpreted because you just can't say that (Diego did not exist.)"
"Schulemburg's quote was first thought to have been published in the Italian magazine "30 Giorno": but it then turned out that the Giroro article was based on an interview given "months earlier" (Reuters) with the local Catholic publication known as Ixtus. Reuters reported that "In that interview -- never denied by the abbot -- Schulemburg said Juan Diego symbolized the marriage between Catholicism and traditional Indian religions and said his beatification recognized a 'cult', not a real person."
"Associated Press reported similar wording. Abbot Schulenburg (sic) is reported to have said that the 1990 beatification of Juan Diego by the Pope "is a recognition of a cult. It is not a recognition of the physical, real existence of a person."
"AP also reports that "small protests" broke out once the statement was made public, and that "Demonstrators scrawled graffiti on church walls vilifying the abbot and demanding his ouster."
"Even so, local religious fanatics are apparently unaware that Abbot Schulemburg is not alone in his opinions. "Some church leaders," noted AP last week, "argued the apparition of the brown-skinned Virgin was a fable created to allow the Indians to continue to worship their own goddess. Others said the Spanish made up the story to help convert Mexico's Indians to Catholicism."
"The man who orchestrated the campaign for the beatification to sainthood of Juan Diego is now demanding that Abbot Schulemburg resign.
"A final word about the Virgin of Guadalupe. Today, she is depicted as having fair skin; she stands on the horns of a bull, said to symbolize fertility and potency, or on the outline of a crescent moon -- another symbol of the earth goddess.
The bishop in question, Bishop Zumarraga, never mentioned Juan Diego nor the cape. And although the image was supposed to have appeared in 1531, the first recorded mention of it doesn't appear until 1555 at the earliest. Juan Diego himself isn't mentioned in any of the stories until 1648.
In 1556, Francisco de Bustamante writes: "The devotion that has been growing in a chapel dedicated to Our Lady, called of Gaudalupe, in this city is greatly harmful for the natives, because it makes them believe that the image painted by Marcos the Indian is in any way miraculous." Francisco de Bustamante was the head of the Franciscans in that region of Mexico.
In 1569, viceroy Martin Enriquez denounced the cult around the Virgin of Guadalupe as worship of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin in disguise.
In the 19th century, historian Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta headed an inquest called by Bishop Labastida of Mexico City. Icazbalceta concluded in a confidential report that Diego may not have existed.
After Diego was made a saint in July, 2002, Miguel Olimon launched another investigation. Olimon was a priest and historian at the Pontifical University of Mexico, but he also found that Juan Diego probably never existed - and he was censored for that.
I stopped reading here...
“Mexico City basilica build in honor of the minor deity...”
Hmmmm, what kind of Anti-Catholic author wrote this? Minor deity? That’s so last century.
To Jesus through Mary.
Catholics, IMO, tend to be too focus on the issue of Mary to overlook such an obvious issue.
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
The Image on the Tilma
The imprint of Mary on the tilma is striking, and the symbolism was primarily directed to Juan Diego and the Aztecs. The description that follows is that related by Father Elizondo,7 who references earlier writings. Mary appears as a beautiful young Indian maiden with a look of love, compassion, and humility, her hands folded in prayer. Her pale red dress is that of an Aztec princess. Her blue mantle symbolized the royalty of the gods, and the blue color symbolized life and unity. The stars on the mantle signified the beginning of a new civilization. Mary stands in front of and hides the sun, but the rays of the sun still appear around her, signifying she is greater than the sun god, the greatest of the native divinities, but the rays of the sun still bring light. Twelve rays of the sun surround her face and head. She stands on the moon, supported by an angel with wings like an eagle: to the Aztec, this indicated her superiority to the moon god, the god of night, and her divine, regal nature.
Most important are the two crosses and the black maternity band that were present in the image. Mary wore a black maternity band, signifying she was with child. At the center of the picture is found an Indian cross, the center of the cosmic order to the Indian. This symbol indicated that the baby Mary carried within her, Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, is the new center of the universe. On the brooch around her neck was a black Christian cross, indicating she is both a bearer and follower of Christ, the Son of God, our Savior, who died on the Cross to save mankind.
In summary, the image signified Mary bringing her Son Christ to the New World through one of their own!
You seem to prefer the ways God might have brought Our Lord to this earth, to the way He did bring Him. Knowing that God is unsurpassable in judgment, I'd be inclined to say that the way He did do it was the way of greatest wisdom and excellence, for His purpose and glory. And that was that God freely and willfully chose to save human beings with the consent of a human being: Mary of Nazareth.
"To say it's a "package deal" is nothing more that a Co-Redemptix view"
Depends what you mean by that. If you mean Mary is equal to Jesus, the answer is a big NO. If you mean that Mary cooperated in Jesus' incarnation and therefore our redemption, the answer is a big YES. We all cooperate in redemption, as Mary did: by saying Yes through the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Clearly if Mary was so significant to attracting followers then one wonders why there wasn't more history about a church that she started."
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
The fact that something wasn't written in Scriptures doesn't mean it didn't exist or didn't happen. If that were the case, there would be no Reformed Christianity, especially in America: to start with, because "Reformed," "Christianity," and "America" are not in the Bible.
God is sovereignly free to employ His mother, or anybody else, as a messenger whenever and wherever and for whatever purpose He pleases. All by His grace, all by the work of the Holy Spirit.
As for your observations of Third World Catholicism: the Bible --- straight Scripture, read, proclaimed, and sung --- is the first half of every Mass. The second half is eating His body and drinking His blood. As we were commanded to do.
Do you question Luther's notion of "The Bible Alone," which isn't mentioned in Scripture?
>>Catholics, IMO, tend to be too focus on the issue of Mary to overlook such an obvious issue. <<
Careful with those generalization FRiend.
I know many a Catholic who use the name of Jesus only and have Mary as an afterthought.
When I say the rosary, I reflect on the passion only. We are not required to reflect on any other or all mysteries directed by the church. Perhaps your limited view should be taken into account.
Here's something more this century:
Juan Diego The Saint That Never Was
Mario Mendez Acosta
[The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.]
"The saint that never was may sound like the title of a cheap thriller of the forties, something from the pen of Leslie Charteris or G.K Chesterton. But its more like a modern-day melodrama. Its the story of how the Catholic Church, just to test its strength, tried to show the world that it had the power to change reality by canonizing a man whom everyone in its inner circle knew never existed.
I refer to Juan Diego, the Aztec Indian who supposedly witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary as the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Back in the sixteenth century, the very name Juan Diego meant something like John Doe in modern-day America: a man whose name and identity are not only unknown, but really dont matter.
Over the centuries the church has launched several inquests into the reality of Juan Diego. Its an important problem, given that the Virgin of Guadalupein whose form the Virgin Mary assumed the physiognomy of an American Indian womanis so central to Catholic devotion throughout Latin America. In the nineteenth century, Bishop Labastida of Mexico City held an inquest headed by the historian Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta, a devout Catholic. Icazbalceta wrote a confidential report to the bishop that clearly disputed the existence of Juan Diego.
Real or not, Juan Diego was made a saint last July. In the wake of that event, clergyman Miguel Olimona historian of the Pontifical University of Mexico, a very prestigious official Catholic institutionlaunched another inquest. This inquiry, too, found clearly against the existence of Juan Diego. Olimon was censored and threatened by the apparitionist hierarchy. One bishop actually lamented in public that there was no more Inquisition to silence troublemakers like Olimon. But this historian decided to publish his work anyway. A Spanish publisher, Plaza & Janes, accepted the manuscript and published it this year under the title La Búsqueda de Juan Diego (The Search for Juan Diego).
Certainly Diegos first appearances in the historical record do little to inspire confidence. As David Brading of Cambridge University points out, the image of the virgin was supposedly miraculously imprinted on Juan Diegos cape in 1531, yet the first recorded reference to the image of the virgin dates from 1555 or 1556. Another priest-historian, Stafford Poole of Los Angeles, points out that Juan Diego himself doesnt appear in any record until 1648, when Miguel Sanchez, a theological writer based in New Spain (later Mexico), mentioned him in his book The Apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
The following year, the Juan Diego story resurfaces in another book titled Nican Mopohua, written in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs by a criollo1 priest, Luis Lasso de la Vega. Nican Mopohuas plot is simple, based on several more ancient legends including that of Moses on Mount Sinai. The book claims that, in 1531, just ten years after the Spaniards led by Hernan Cortez conquered the Aztec empire, a Christian Indian named Juan Diego walked up the hill of Tepeyac just north of Mexico City. On the hilltop the Virgin appeared to him and asked him to build a temple at that place. Juan Diego told Bishop Juan de Zumarraga what he had heard. The bishop demanded some kind of proof. After several encounters with the Virgin, Juan Diego was instructed by her to pick some wild roses and carry them in his cape so the bishop could see them. When Juan Diego returned to the bishops quarters in downtown Mexico City, he opened his cape and the roses fell to the ground. On the cloth had appeared the image of the Virgin, supposedly the same image now on exhibit at the Basilica of Guadalupe.
This story has several holes. First of all, Bishop Zumarraga wasnt yet a bishop. He wasnt consecrated until 1534. Second, up to his death in 1548 Zumarraga never mentioned anything concerning this matter. Finally, in a catechism he wrote the year before his death he clearly stated: The Redeemer of the world doesnt want any more miracles, because they are no longer necessary. This bishops silencemore, his hostility toward latter-day miraclesis eloquent. No one would write about the supposed apparitions for more than a hundred years.
The cult of the virgin on the hill of Tepeyac starts around 1550. The first temple was built a couple of years later, under Zumarragas successor Alonso de Montufar. Bishop Montufar is known to have commissioned the now-sacred image from Marcos Cipac de Aquino, an Indian painter famous throughout the regions north of the city. The painter based his initial sketch on a previously existing image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, already revered as the patroness of Extremadura, a province of Spain.
As early as September 1556, Francisco de Bustamante, provincial head of Mexicos Franciscans, read a memorable sermon in which he clearly dismissed the whole myth: The devotion that has been growing in a chapel dedicated to Our Lady, called of Guadalupe, in this city is greatly harmful for the natives, because it makes them believe that the image painted by Marcos the Indian is in any way miraculous.
In 1569, Martin Enriquez de Almanza, fourth viceroy of Mexico, denounced the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a harmful imposture, indeed as disguised worship of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.
Olimons book also surveys the studies made upon the so-called miraculous cloth itself. In 1982, Guillermo Schulenburg, Abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, had the image examined by an expert art restorer. Jose Sol Rosales determined that the picture was executed using different variations of the technique now known as template painting. The pigments are a mixture of caccus cacti extract, calcium sulphate, and soot commonly used in the sixteenth century. (In 1996, Schulenburg would be forced to resign of after publicly stating that Juan Diego was a mythical figure.)
Those religious scholars, clergymen themselves, who have challenged the historicity of Juan Diego have been made the object of a veritable lynching in the media. There are few modern examples of so much hatred being vented from within the Church against those who differ from the prevailing official truth. The canonization of Juan Diego clearly paints the modern Roman Catholic Church in all its historic intolerance and irrationality. This comes as no surprise to many Mexicans who never really accepted the Churchs new face of pretended tolerance and moderation.
1. Criollo: one born in Mexico or another Spanish colony, both of whose parents were born in Spain.
Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta, "Juan Diego y las Apariciones del Tepeyac" (Mexico City: Publicaciones para el Estudio Cientifico de las Religiones, 2002), pp. 3-8.
Luis Alfonso Gamez, "Juan Diego ¿El santo que nunca existío?" Diario El Correo, July 27, 2002 (Bilbao, Spain).
Miguel Leon Portilla, Tomantzin-Guadalupe, Pensamiento Nahuatl y mensaje Cristiano (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2000)
Manuel Olimon, La Búsqueda de Juan Doego (Mexico City: Plaza & Janes, 2002).