After the recitation of the rosary, while the people were still leaving the church, the first phenomena were already taking place.
«Inside of the church, Mari Cruz fell forward by the altar of the Immaculate Conception, and the other girls fell on top of Mari Cruz. I noticed with amazement that, though the girls had fallen violently on the ground, nevertheless their clothes remained in proper position, covering their knees. They were as if in a sculptured group, more to be seen and admired than to be described. At this time Father Andreu pointed out that Father Royo Marín, in his book on ascetics and mystics, spoke of human sculptural groups that the mystics sometimes form in their ecstasies.
Having seen this, and after the girls had left the church and were continuing their ecstasy in the village, I returned to the sanctuary and there gave my entire attention to speaking in prayer to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. My whole desire was to petition light from God for the bishop and for those charged with studying all this.
Several times the girls returned to the church and placed themselves next to me on the step of the sanctuary. All I had to do was turn my head slightly to one side, and I could see perfectly the complete display of the phenomena, mystical in appearance. In a low voice they prayed fervently in front of the tabernacle. All their comportment was of amazing beauty: head tilted lightly backwards, their countenances shining— as if lit by an interior luminance that would have been dazzling, if it had not been tempered by an infinite softness.»
But on the night of August 22nd, 1961, the pastor from Barro was able to see first hand not only the unique spectacle of those girls swept out of themselves by the mysterious force; he was also able to take in with his eyes and ears the manner of action undertaken by those there with sacred obligations toward the young girls and their affairs . . .
«My whole desire»—the good priest tells us— «was to petition light from God for the bishop and for those charged with studying all this.»
He did not know that on that day he would meet there, by an unusual coincidence, those so charged. And with dispositions hardly open to receive the Light of God, as we will see . . .
«The members of the diocesan Commission» (he was not then aware of their existence; he would learn about it later) «appeared soon after the rosary while the girls were walking in ecstasy through the village. And I would have to say that in my judgment the actions of the members of the Commission on that day were not deserving of applause.»
On one of the occasions when the girls had returned to the church, Dr. Piñal approached and from the entrance asked in a very loud voice which all those around the visionaries could hear:
—«What? Is this comedy still going on?
—If there's a comedian here, it's you! answered Dr. Ortiz from Santander, who at that time was carefully taking Conchita's pulse. The sanctuary is not the appropriate place to talk this way, especially in public.
The two doctors had not recognized each other; but it was only a matter of a few seconds.
Dr. Ortiz—Oh! So it's you?
Dr. Piñal—I have to say something to you in the sacristy.
Dr. Ortiz—O.K. In the sacristy. You can say what you want.»
Then they went into the sacristy and «there ended» according to what Father José Ramón says, «the investigation by the doctors of the Commission on that day; an investigation that ended before it began.»
But did the Commission priests act in the same way? Let us hear the witness:
«One of the priests of the Commission went up to the sanctuary and taking a position there, with his back to the Blessed Sacrament and his face toward the people, unhesitatingly made this comment in a loud voice, I don't believe in this . . . whatever may happen.»(32)
It seems that here also ended the theological investigation made by the Commission on that night.
Now the Commission had brought along its official photographer. He stopped also at the sacristy, and there was next to the priest who would not believe «whatever might happen». Father José Ramón heard him say, «I am not a professional photographer; however . . .»
Since the photographer's camera was automatic, loaded with a roll of color film, and had a flash attachment, Father José Ramón indicated to him that it would be a shame to lose the valuable photographs that he could take of Jacinta and Loli,
who were then kneeling on a step «with a truly extraordinary grace and pose». The answer of the photographer was disdainful and curt: that he had already taken the pictures that he had to take.
Coming to this point, we have to say that on that night the action of the Commission described by this eyewitness cannot be held up as a model for imitation.
They were not on the scene of the events at the hour of prayer. (Perhaps it might be said that this was due to the many things that they had to discuss; perhaps so that the devotion might not disturb their thinking). They only came later, as if to cast a glance and see how to take measures against those obstinate in continuing with this.
They did not consider it worthwhile to follow the visionaries closely in their trances so as to understand the thing from its foundations, not miss any pieces, and have complete background and information upon which to solidly base a judgment. Let others be bothered with those streets and trailways! Let others lose their sleep in long and pointless vigils!
32. The author of this not so prudent declaration was not Fr. Odriozola, who seemed to be almost always the megaphone for the Commission; we will not mention his name out of respect for him.