The Fringe Takes a Hit
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the decree May 27 in the case of 73-year-old Italian Fr. Gino Burresi, founder of a religious order called the Congregation of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary....The original Vatican decree, which was not released publicly, but a copy of which was obtained by NCR, was signed by Archbishop William Levada, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as Archbishop Angelo Amato, the secretary.
The case has significance for at least three reasons: it's the first such decree under Levada and the new pope; Burresi is a widely known mystic and Fatima devotee sometimes compared by his followers, including groups in the United States and Canada, to the Capuchin mystic and saint Padre Pio; and finally, because it involves action against a widely known founder of a religious community on the basis of decades-old accusations....
Until 1992, Burresi was a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, an order founded in 1816 by Italian priest Bruno Lanteri. Burresi became a devotee of the Fatima revelations in the 1950s, and was the driving force behind the creation of a Marian sanctuary in San Vittorino, outside Rome. At the time he was a brother; he was not ordained as a priest until 1983. In the 1960s and 1970s, Burresi acquired a worldwide reputation as a mystic. He was alleged to be able to read souls, to carry the stigmata (the wounds of Christ), to have the "odor of sanctity," and to be able to produce paintings and other artwork miraculously.
Critics later charged that Burresi faked these phenomena, using, for example, rose-scented perfume to produce the odor.
Some odor of sanctity that is. And his fans saw him as the second coming of Padre Pio.... More like Padre nuestro.