In the second half of 2004, A.S.P.I.C. – «Anomalous Spiritual Phenomena Investigation Center» was established. It was led by prof. Marco Margnelli, as president and coordinator of the scientific committee, that was formed – as for its permanent structure – by dr. Luca Moretti and dr. Franco Simonucci. Well, since the beginning I have been a permanent member of the Center as a theological consultant.
At the beginning of the third millennium, in a context of ever greater proliferation of anomalous phenomena of uncertain origin, often analyzed with pseudo-scientific or prejudicial methods, with the high risk of being exploited to the detriment of the Catholic Church and of the faith, we have understood the inevitable need to create a Catholic investigation center that was able to verify – with extreme seriousness and methodological rigor – every anomalous and borderline phenomenon reported in the various Dioceses.
The creation of our Center was also inspired by a series of requests for assistance which, exactly on these borderline phenomenologies, we received from bishops, priests, religious people, and scholars. Thus, following the example of Pope Benedict XIV and thanks to our team of interdisciplinary professionals, we have begun to offer our innovative contribution through surveys and appraisals on the field.
Using the most modern scientific techniques, we have done our utmost to better define every single phenomenon we took care of, reaching a sufficient degree of certainty so to avoid both superficial uncritical consensus and easy exaltation, as well as generic refusals, always however guaranteeing the full protection of the people involved in the events and offering them, in case of need, psychological and spiritual support.
In order to best carry out an investigation of this magnitude, always in full agreement with the bishops, we proceeded according to the following four phases:
- collection of historical and circumstantial information so to ascertain the existence of the phenomenon;
- exclusion of the possibility of fraud, deception and simulation, thanks to the intervention of an expert;
- through scientific, instrumental and experimental analyses, and with the advice of the best experts in the various areas impacted, confirmation that the “extraordinary phenomenon” had no simply natural explanations;
- in case of impossibility of science to explain the phenomenon, confirmation of its genuineness with openness to transcendence and non-exclusion of a supernatural intervention.
At this point, in the light of the results of our investigations, the relevant bishops have been enabled, with the help of the episcopal commission and in harmony with the Holy See, to provide the most appropriate pastoral directives.
Fr. Emidio Alessandrini ofm