Let us listen to Father José Ramón García de la Riva:
«I remember that during the early times in 1961, I was there one day in a state of consternation since, to my way of seeing it, Jacinta and Loli had pretended to be in ecstasy — at some time at least — in the trances during the day . . .
I became aware of this since there was a youth with a good sense of humor in our group who made everyone laugh, including the visionaries. Furthermore, if he told the girls to turn to the left, and I would say the opposite, the girls would always listen to my advice. My companion was amazed. He couldn't have been aware of how I was hurt by what I was observing. He finally asked me, How did you know that? I said to myself, If you'd pay more attention, you'd understand.
After the ecstasy, the two visionaries and I were at Mari Cruz' house. She was sitting on her bed with a cold. Then when they expected it the least, I told them point blank:
Today you faked an ecstasy.
Loli became red as a beet and hid her face in her hands, her elbows leaning on her knees. All she could say was, Oh! What a thing!
Jacinta started crying and said to me, I'm going to tell my mother that you don't believe that we are seeing the Virgin.
— It isn't that, I said to them. Yes, I believe that you see the Virgin; but right now you have pretended to be in ecstasy . . . Because of your age, that doesn't have too much importance, since you aren't aware of the harm that you can cause. But suppose that some day a theologian or an important doctor would come here to study the events. And if he would see you — as I have just seen you — pretending an ecstasy, and if he couldn't come later, what impression would he take away? And what report would he make?
Mari Cruz' mother also scolded them for their conduct.
Three months later I was with Loli. It was then possible to verify that the girls had sometimes feigned ecstasies. I said to the girl, Now then, have you been faking or not?
Laughing, she answered, Do you know what Conchita said that day when you left Mari Cruz' house? "What a rascal! How he caught us!"
Conchita speaks of these faked ecstasies in her diary. She writes: We did not fake all of them, which allows it to be supposed that some of them were faked.(9) She confidentially recounted to me one of the false ecstasies for which God punished her, according to what she told me, for on coming down from the Pines, she had such a terrible fall that she thought she was going to die of pain. I supported the suffering as well as I could, she added. And I thought that no one noticed it. Then the Virgin came for real. And then I was truly in ecstasy.
She told me then that they only pretended when there were trusted people and residents of the village present. And also, that they had only done it when they knew for certain that the Virgin was going to come later, like a half hour before the apparition. And that the Virgin was accustomed to punish them by coming later than that time. And that she always reproached them.»
The text from Conchita's diary is this:
At times the three of us wanted to be together. (she, Jacinta and Loli)
As our parents didn't allow us to be out of the house at night, sometimes when we went outside after the rosary — having already had two calls — we looked upwards as if we were seeing the Virgin.
And so we went together down the street with our parents and the people.
And later, the Virgin came and we were together.
We always ended up seeing the Virgin.
We never faked the entire ecstasy.
From the preceding, this is clear:
* That there are obscure matters about Garabandal which are more than just subjective opinions and pertain to the actual facts themselves.
* That the last matter that we have mentioned is mainly or almost exclusively the fault of the girls, who at various times treated with levity something that merited tremendous respect. Because of this, they are deserving of rebuke. But we should take this into account: that they did not suspect the importance of what they were doing, having come to such familiarity with the mystery that they easily were able to fall into the mistaken belief that it was theirs, that they could almost play with it. Here was fulfilled the dictum, familiarity breeds contempt.(10)
What is very clear is that these rare and isolated black spots cannot be balanced against the fantastic display of proofs and testimonies in favor of the supernatural authenticity of the events at Garabandal as a whole.
Although this does not have a definite relation with the preceding, I am putting here what Conchita wrote in her diary following this:
When we were together, when one of us lost her shoe, the Virgin would say to the other: Put her shoe on.
And one of us would put the shoe on the other.
And when we were alone, if we lost our shoe, we went the whole apparition without it.
And at the end, the Virgin would tell us where the shoe was outside of us.(11)
And she smiled.
Charming details, which indicate that a real mother was speaking with her children.
9. Our friend Fr. de la Riva is mistaken here. Conchita's actual text does not say this, although it seems to say it, but something very different. It will be shown later on.
10. It appears that an obscure matter resulted for some because the girls sought to avoid the questions with which they were often assailed by the inquisitive. Besides the annoyance of such questioning and the outright imprudence of so many, the attitude of the girls could have been brought on by what St. Therese of the Child Jesus wrote in her autobiography, as a result of having confided to some people — there was no other solution — the marvelous intervention of the Virgin to cure her of the unusual disease that she suffered when ten years old:
"As I had sensed, my happiness was going to vanish, changing to sorrow. The remembrance of the ineffable grace that I had received was for me a true interior pain for four years . . . In the waiting room at Carmel they questioned me about the grace that I received, asking me if the Virgin was carrying the Infant Jesus, if she was very resplendent, if . . . These questions troubled me and made me suffer. I was only able to say this, The Most Holy Virgin appeared very beautiful and she
smiled at me. Only her face impressed me. Seeing that the sisters were imagining almost anything, anguish came upon me in thinking that I had lied . . . Only in heaven will I be able to say what I suffered."
(History of a Soul, end of Chapter III)
11. There are many testimonies from the spectators that confirm what Conchita said here. Those watching the ecstasies could not intervene in what was occurring in the other world of the trances.