The documentary, 'A PLEA TO HUMANITY", presents some of the most remarkable happenings in modern times which will have important implications for both science and religion.
In Cochabamba, Bolivia, a statue of the Crucified Christ, inexplicably has wept tears and blood.
In the same city, Katya Rivas has had appear in her hands, in her feet, and on her forehead, wounds similar to those believed to have been suffered by Christ in His Crucifixion, the stigmata.
Also, Katya, who had never read the bible, and who did not complete her high school education, has written, without theological error, hundreds of pages of profound theological teachings and biblical commentaries which she says are dictated to her by Christ. The Stigmata of Katya Rivas. True or false?
Mike Willesee made his first trip to Bolivia in July 1998. He went back in Holy Week of April 1999 bringing with him his own film crew to record the story for the Fox Network Television Program. He was hoping that Katya would have the stigmata on Good Friday of that week and that he would be able to film it. The day before Good Friday, Katya said to Mr Willesee that she had had a message from Jesus saying that she would not have the stigmata the next day but that she would have it on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi (which would make it Friday, 4th June 1999, some two months away) and that he could return then and film what happens. We retuned on 3rd June and we were given unrestricted freedom to film. We began filming her on the evening of the 3rd and then through the next day.
At 12 noon, on 4thJune, at the exact time and date that Katya predicted the stigmata would occur, we saw and filmed small red dots appear on her palms and her feet. These marks then slowly opened up to form somewhat circular and deep severe wounds which began to shed blood.
There was a symmetry to the way the wounds appeared and developed in both hands and both feet. They all began at the same time and progressed as bleeding wounds at the same rate. While wounds appeared on her hands and feet, wounds began to appear on her forehead.
The wounds on the forehead appeared one after another across the forehead as we watched. These wounds looked as if they had been caused by something sharp, small and pointed. There were perhaps 20 or so. On her left cheek there appeared a swelling and a heavy bruise mark, of the sort that one sees when someone has been given a hard punch to the face.
Throughout all this Katya was seen to suffer the pains of the wounds she had. As the time approached 3 pm she began to suffer from difficulty in breathing and what seemed like a congestion in her lungs. At about 3.10 pm, all the pain subsided, and her injuries began to heal.
By the next morning the injuries she had to her body had completely healed. (The medical opinion is that the wounds like she had should have taken at least 4 to 6 weeks to heal).
There were at least 9 people in the room who witnessed Katya experience the stigmata that day. Not only was there Mike Willesee and myself, but Greg Barbara, (an Australian 60 Minutes cameraman), his sound recorder, Ralph Steele, Neuropsychophysiologist, Dr Ricardo Castanon, and other people.
Since the broadcast of the Fox program, there have been some journalists and critics who have gone to print to publish what they suggest was the case, namely that Katya inflicted those wounds on herself, or they were inflicted on her by someone else and that Mike Willesee had been duped by some clever fraud to think otherwise.
It is interesting that not one of those journalists or critics has asked to see the raw footage of what was professionally filmed of what actually happened. Nor have they sought to speak to or interview any of the 9 witnesses who saw what happened. Published on the internet free and also available in hard copy at the cost of printing are a number of books of Katya's writings which she says are dictated to her by Christ. The writings are dictated to Katya in Spanish (although at times parts or all have been in other languages such as Latin, Polish, Italian and Greek, languages that Katya does not know) and they are progressively being translated into English. Catholic Priest and Psychologist, Father Omar Huesca of Miami, who has met Katya and read her writings, in an interview had this to say, "I have met Katya and have asked her certain questions to be able to gauge the scope of her experiences as a mystic and I have been deeply, deeply impressed by her, both in her human aspect, as well as what God is doing in her. I think it would be difficult for someone that does not have theological training to be able to memorise or to express these theological truths with the simplicity and directness which are evident in the writings.
Also, in the writings I see a great lyrical quality. It is almost like poetry, yet it is prose but it almost rhymes. There is a beauty, a lyric aspect to the expressions, even to the grammatical construction that sets it apart from what I feel that someone that sat down to write something like this on their own would use.Katya has now written 14 books of messages. There have been many witnesses who have seen and filmed Katya writing these books without reference to other material.
The books are a compilation of the messages Katya receives and writes down in her note book. Her note books are like a running diary and each page has recorded on it the content of the message, and the date and place of the receipt of each message.
For the last 5 or 6 years I have been with Katya on a number of occasions and I have filmed her many times while she has been receiving and writing messages. Messages that I have filmed her write have become part of the books that have been published.
The film recordings that I have made will enable any person to critically examine the method and content of what she writes. Sometimes the message may be short and have taken a few minutes. At other times they have much been longer. The longest message that I have filmed her write went for nearly an hour. She wrote without pause, without an alteration to any word, something like 14 pages of dictation. There were others present watching as I filmed. She started with a blank page in her note book. She wrote the first sentence and without stopping, the next sentence, then paragraph after paragraph, and then page after page, without one pause. She did not refer to any other material or book to write those 14 pages. If the accusation is that she steals the information she writes from other people's works then we must ask, from where did she read and steal what she wrote down as I filmed? Did she memorise it all having read it somewhere else? Or did she make it up? When you read the writings that have been published you come easily to the conclusion that a person like Katya who has no theological training could not have made it up on the spot. If she wrote from memory what I filmed her write then she had to have gained suddenly in her life a superhuman memory that enables her to reproduce at a later time, great theological teachings she has found written elsewhere. But, from where? What, for me, clearly demonstrates that the writings are not the product of a superhuman memory or a photographic mind is that I have seen and filmed Katya write highly complex, most informative and detailed messages immediately in response to matters that I have raised, or others in the room have raised, in circumstances where Katya had no prior notice of the subject matter that was being discussed. Bishop Rene Fernandez, the former Bishop of Cochabamba, who gave the Church's imprimatur to Katya's writings has also been a witness to Katya's experiences. These experiences are not new in human history. The closest parallel to what Katya is experiencing is what happened to St Catherine of Sienna in the 14th Century. St Catherine not only had the stigmata, but also had the experience of having profound theology dictated to her. Her writings are treasured by the Church. She was honoured after her death and pronounced a "Doctor of the Church". What she received in divine communication became a medicine for the healing of the Church and the Papacy at the time. If the Stigmata and Divine dictation have happened before in history, and the Church has recognised these as authentic experiences, then we must remain open to the possibility that these things could happen again, even today.