The Eucharistic Miracle(s) of Buenos Aires

Some commenters on my previous post on the Eucharistic Miracles in Poland asked me to look into the Eucharistic Miracle(s) of Buenos Aires. I did, and wound up going way, way, way down a lot of rabbit holes. I realize that this is far more than anyone is likely to want to read, but because it was so difficult for me to track down all of these details, and many of them were only available through paid sources, I do want to post all of my notes. To try to make it easier to navigate to the information you are interested in, I’ve made a table of contents with lots of hyperlinks between sections.

TLDR:

  1. This was not the first claimed Eucharistic miracle at this church.
  2. The 1996 photos of the specimen look very much like a rotting bread wafer and nothing like heart tissue.
  3. The tests conducted at Forensics Analytical in 1999 are consistent with rotting bread and inconsistent with heart tissue. In particular:
    1. The ortho-tolidine test was negative, indicating that the tissue did not contain myoglobin, and thus is not muscle of any kind.
    1. The DNA tests found only trace amounts of human DNA and large quantities of non-human DNA.
    1. The tissue did not behave like heart tissue when dried.
  4. The first scientist to examine a microscope slide of the sample (Dr Robert Lawrence) reported seeing skin, fungi, and white blood cells. The second and third agreed that they saw skin cells. The forth said muscle, the 5th said possibly heart muscle. Only the 6th (Dr. Zugibe) said it was definitely heart muscle. 

This situation is obviously a lot murkier than the story you will find on numerous websites and youtube videos. I’m still not sure what to make of it.

I’m confident that the tissue was not human heart tissue as of the Forensics Analytical investigation in 1999. None of the tests they completed had results consistent with this conclusion. If Dr. Zugibe concluded the substance was definitely human heart tissue in 2004, and it was not in 1999, then either it must have changed sometime in between, by mistake, fraud, or magic, or Dr. Zugibe was mistaken.

Unfortunately, with the information available, I haven’t been able to narrow down these options further.

So that’s where I’m at. Lots of information, but no satisfying conclusions at this stage. But I wanted to post what I’ve found so far in case people are interested.

5 Responses

  1. The link for #4 doesn’t work… would love to find the source for Lawrence saying he found fungus.
    Thank for all this good work btw!

    1. I have the quote in my writeup, which I apparently forgot to publish. Just proofreading it now then I’ll do that. The quote is from the book Unseen, I don’t know of a non-paywalled source unfortunately. It’s not in plain English of course, he describes “scattered minute aggregates of brown material composed of septate hyphal fragments enmeshed in proteinaceous matrix” which basically means fungus. Certainly nothing human. There’s not a lot of context to the quote, so I’m not 100% sure if he’s talking about the slide Zugibe saw. There were multiple slides created at Lawrence’s lab but it sounds like only one looked like it might be human, and Lawrence was called in to look at that one. I’m not clear if Lawrence looked at all of the slides or if only the tech at his lab saw them. The existence of the other slides has been mostly edited out of the narrative, that’s the one lab report Tesoriero doesn’t seem to have published, and the church didn’t respond when I asked them. Castanon seems to mention them sometimes in his speeches, but I only have bits of English translations. Improving my Spanish is on my todo list, right now I can’t really understand Castanon or the original info from the church.

    1. Hi. Sorry, I’ve been busy. I have a lot to write about this stuff, just don’t know when I’ll get to it.
      I’m pretty sure the statements about the heart being “still living” were misinterpretations of two things Zugibe said. First, he said that the “white blood cells” were still living when the slide was created. That’s true, whatever they are, the nuclei in those cells look intact and healthy. A lot of the “heart cells” are dead, ironically including all of the ones on the cover of Tesoriero’s new book which he keeps referring to as “living heart cells” (I think he picked portions that were the most red for aesthetic reasons, but it’s the blue parts that were alive). Some still have nuclei that are dying slowly. They’re not necrotic like they came from a dead body, but they’re certainly not healthy. Second, Zugibe said that the heart must have continued to beat for about 72 hours after the heart attack. There are normally some macrophages (the type of white blood cell he thinks he’s seeing) in the heart, but not in that concentration, and they die with the heart cells when the heart is damaged. So the macrophages he’s seeing had to come from somewhere. They come through the circulatory system, about 72 hours after the injury. So for there to be macrophages in the heart, the heart must have still been beating after the injury. If the person had just had a heart attack and died, his circulation would have stopped, so you wouldn’t see those cells.
      I am quite certain Zugibe did not believe in this miracle. Most significantly, he rewrote his book on the heart of Jesus after this incident, yet makes no mention of this incident in it and says several things that directly contradict this sample being the heart of Jesus. Also he had a fair amount of sway in Catholic circles and a bunch of TV connections. If he had believed, this would have had more publicity.

      1. Ah. Thank you for the deep reply. I wasn’t really worried about the miracle itself though but rather your thoughts on the hypthoesis in the link. Pretty suprised that you were able to find even more holes in this thing though. Regarding the “living heart cells” it is seemingly a baseless claim. Zugibe doesn’t mention it in his paper or in the documentary(both in the quora link) and Robert Lawrence never mentions it. I cant find anyone else who mentioned it either. I would like to know if the “not dead, not new” blood cells could be explained by formaldehyde or other presveratives. I couldn’t find anything about him saying
        specifically 72 hours though. In both the paper and interview he only says “a few days”. Interestingly, the statement from the group he worked with(from the quora link) backs your final statement “Dr. Zugibe did not examine or authenticate it and a statement to that effect has been previously issued. Dr. Zugibe’s wife Catherine, can also testify to the accuracy of this information as she was a witness”

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