(Main Photo: alleged stigmata of Gisella Cardia filmed on March 24, 2023
in the presence of Peter Bannister and Dr. Rosanna Chifari Negri)
For a full account of the controversy surrounding
the alleged seer Gisella Cardia, see here.
Observations regarding recent events in Trevignano Romano:
i) In recent weeks, the media have created a climate in which an objective inquiry into the events in Trevignano Romano since 2016 has become extremely difficult. In order for such an inquiry to occur in the proper conditions, an interdisciplinary approach is necessary that would study the fundamental objective elements of the case, namely the alleged phenomena and the written messages that Gisella Cardia has claimed to receive. Following the normal praxis of the Catholic Church, part of such an investigation should include the due analysis of reports of supposed graces received, such as healings supported by the necessary medical documentation. Numerous testimonies already exist, but the climate of public opinion is now such that individuals may well be afraid to come forward after seeing the intense, indeed relentless media exposure to which Gisella Cardia has been subjected on a daily basis over the past 2 months.
ii) In the course of the coverage in the Italian and sometimes international media, very little attention has been paid to an unbiased presentation and analysis of the objective phenomena, while much space has been given to personal interpretation, speculation and in some cases patently false information. It is notably a source of regret that the unsupported statements of the private investigator Andrea Cacciotti have been diffused widely and without much critical comment as to the credibility of the source. Calling himself “il comandante”, Andrea Cacciotti was himself investigated, according to La Repubblica, for attempted extorsion after requesting a million euros in 2009 from Silvio Berlusconi in return for a compromising video of alleged sexual acts between politicians. In contrast, the 2022 written report of the doctor and neurologist Rosanna Chifari Negri into the alleged stigmata on Gisella Cardia’s hands has received little serious discussion; the same can be said for the three documentary videos made by Dr. Chifari and myself on March 24 at the home of Gisella and Gianni Cardia in which we personally witnessed not only the wounds on Gisella’s hands but also the exudation of fragrant oil from them. This followed Dr. Chifari’s participation the day previously in the “Pomeriggio 5” programme during which I was shocked at the apparently unprovoked hostility with which Dr. Chifari was met, as journalists with no scientific credentials of their own attempted to question the professional credibility of a doctor and neurologist with dozens of published scientific papers.
iii) For my own part as a theological researcher having studied mystical phenomena for a decade in collaboration with others, I feel compelled to express a degree of frustration with Italian media with regard to my own statements, having carried out extensive study of the case of Trevignano Romano in terms of comparison of the phenomena and messages with those of other sources both historically in terms of the approved mystics of the Catholic Church and geographically in respect of other sources which have a prima facie claim to credibility. Canale 5 only showed one minute of a 30-minute interview I did with journalist Vito Francesco Paglia on March 23 in an attempt to lay out the methodology of this comparative research, while a more recent written interview I did at the request of a journalist from Corriere della Sera concerning the written messages supposedly received by Gisella has not been made public.
iv) In retrospect, I would contend that we have reached the current situation, in which Gisella Cardia has left Trevignano Romano out of fear for her own safety because the media chose to pay attention to certain sources of “information” rather than others. I cannot avoid thinking that, if on March 23-24, Canale 5 had screened the totality of my interview with Vito Francesco Paglia and Rai Due had not cancelled its scheduled interview with Dr. Rosanna Chifari, the debate around Trevignano Romano may well have gone in a wholly different direction. That it did not is entirely the responsibility of the media. I say this not out of an a priori commitment to the authenticity of Gisella Cardia, which should be the object of a properly conducted Church inquiry according to canonical norms and taking all pertinent evidence into consideration. I say it rather as a matter of what I consider to have been a grave failure to respect journalistic deontology and the presumption of innocence in civil society, to which Gisella Cardia would have a right were she a Scientologist, Muslim or militant atheist.
It is not too late for a responsible and thorough inquiry into the events in Trevignano Romano, but only if there is a fundamental change in the approach of the media and a genuine effort to uncover the truth, however inconvenient it may be.
—Peter Bannister, MTh, MPhil, April 13, 2023 (Peter is the translator for messages on Countdown to the Kingdom)