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The Holy Face of Jesus from the image of Veronica's veil
(The veil is kept in St. Peters Basilica, Rome.)

The Holy Face of Manoppello Hoax


Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus is an ancient devotion in the Catholic Church, and has been cultivated in every century. The most notable book which reviews the history of the Holy Face is called, "The Holy Face in the Documents of the Church" (Stefano Pedica, Imprimatur, 1959). This book is considered to be one of the most thorough on the subject of the Holy Face, covering the time period from Scripture to 1959. It covers the origins of the Holy Face in Scripture, in tradition, and provides a complete list of all ecclesiastical documents pertaining to the Holy Face throughout the history of the Catholic Church, covering all of the known references to the Holy Face through the writings of the Church, the Saints, and through art. On page 83, it confirms:

"In history and literature therefore three diverse subjects about the Holy Face appear, to be precise:

  1. The Face of Jesus called of Veronica

  2. The Face of Jesus in the Cathedral of Lucca

  3. The Face of Jesus on the Holy Shroud

The book then goes on to explain that these have been the most sought after, venerated and widely known because they focus on our Lord's Face, which brings about a much deeper devotion in the faithful than the other relics such as the Holy Cross, the Spear, the Nails etc. The book then clarifies that "the Veronica" refers to the image on St. Veronica's veil ("the Veronica" meaning "true image"). St. Veronica, the person, is distinguished from "the Veronica", her veil.

The Face of Jesus in the Cathedral of Lucca refers to an ancient carved wooden crucifix that has been venerated for over 11 centuries in the Church, but for purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the image on St. Veronica's veil and the image on the Shroud of Turin.

The devotion to the Holy Face became most well-known in the 1800s when Pope Leo XIII established the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face via papal brief. This occurred after 30 continuous years of miracles occurring in the home of Leo Dupont in Tours, France, where people had prayed in front of a relic of the Holy Face (from the veil of Veronica) created in the Vatican.

Suddenly in recent years we are now seeing interest in a supposed new image of the Holy Face not found in previous books on the subject. This newly announced image some people are referring to as the "Holy Face of Manoppello", which has many serious inconsistencies and concerns, especially with the story that goes behind it. One of the concerns is a claim that the original veil of Veronica was stolen from the Vatican over 400 years ago, and that popes since that time have been covering it up. Another of the concerns with the story behind the image of Manoppello is that it's promoters attempt to discredit the image on the Holy Face on St. Veronica's veil in the Vatican at the same time. In doing so this calls into question the teaching of the Church of St. Veronica, the countless documented miracles associated with her veil, and the establishment of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face in 1885 by Pope Leo XIII. How can all of this be? This is obviously an impossibility, which we will now explain.

A Brief History of the Primary Holy Face Devotion

Holy Face Devotion in the 1800s

In the mid-1840s, Sister Mary of St. Peter, a Carmelite nun in Tours, France experienced a series of revelations from Our Lord about a powerful devotion He wished to be established worldwide - the devotion to His Holy Face. The express purpose of this devotion was to make reparation for blasphemies and the profanation of Sundays and Holy days taking place in the world at the time, but was also established as a means through which we can all appeal to God for anything we wish. Around the same time, Sister Mary of St. Peter spoke to a friend named Leo Dupont from Tours, France and shared with him the revelations and related prayers to the Holy Face. Leo Dupont believed the revelations to be authentic, and took a copy of the prayers to his home to practice them privately.

In Rome in 1849, shortly after the death of Sister Mary of St. Peter in France, Pope Pius IX ordered public prayers be offered in all churches in Rome to implore God's mercy on the Papal States due to revolution occurring at the time. As part of these public prayers, a three-day exposition of the relic of Veronica's veil was held for public veneration at St. Peter's Basilica. On the third day of the showing, January 6, 1849, a miracle occurred through which Our Lord's face on the veil became very distinct and glowed with a soft light. The Canons of the Basilica ordered the bells rung at sight of the miracle, which attracted crowds of people. The miracle lasted for three hours, and was attested to by an apostolic notary during the incident, and was documented in the daybook of the Vatican Basilica. That same evening, copies of the image of Veronica's veil were made, which were touched to the original veil, a relic of the true cross, and to the lance which pierced Christ's side, and were later sent abroad. In subsequent years (mid 1800s to the 1920s), similar copies of Veronica's veil were created each year in the Vatican, making them objects of special devotion. These too were sent out around Europe and abroad. A photo of one of these Holy Face relics can be seen to the right (and many others on our Holy Face Images page).

Around this time, Leo Dupont received a copy of one of these Holy Face relics, and placed it in his parlor with a perpetually lit crystal oil lamp in front of it, as a sign of veneration. There he would say the Holy Face prayers he previously received from Sister Mary of St. Peter. Immediately, first class miracles began to occur with friends and acquaintances who said these prayers in front of the Holy Face relic with him. Leo Dupont's home quickly became a place of pilgrimage. Healings of incurable diseases were occurring daily in Leo Dupont's home for over 30 years and were so numerous that Pope Pius IX declared Leo Dupont to be perhaps one of the greatest miracle workers in Church history! The fact that so many first class miracles occurred through this devotion attests to the authenticity of the revelations from Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter.

In 1885, in response to the countless miracles associated with the Holy Face devotion, Pope Leo XIII established the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face; and contrary to custom, He immediately established it for the entire world. Shortly afterward, the Manual of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was created, providing a history and guidelines for the members of the Archconfraternity. That manual can be viewed at http://www.holyfacedevotion.com/files/ManualoftheArchconfraternityoftheHolyFace.pdf

It is also worth noting that around the same time, St. Therese of Lisieux and her family registered as members of the Archconfraternity of Reparation to the Holy Face at Tours France, and St. Therese herself was so devoted to it that she added the title to her name at the time she took the habit. This is why you will often see St. Therese referred to as St. Therese of the Child Jesus "and of the Holy Face".

Details on the revelations of Sister Mary of St. Peter can be found in the book, "The Golden Arrow", and details on the miracles experienced with Leo Dupont can be found in the book, "The Holy Man of Tours". Numerous other books, approved by the Church, are also available on our Articles & Books page confirming the revelations of the 1800s pertaining to the Holy Face.

Introduction of the “Holy Face of Manoppello” in 1986, 1991 and again in 1999

In both 1986 and 1991, Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J., Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, had written books on the subject of the Holy Face of Manoppello, but the books received little attention from researchers or the Church. In 1999, he again brought up the subject at a press conference in Rome stating that he had "quite certainly" discovered the original "Veronica" in a small Capuchin friary in Manoppello, Italy, which had supposedly disappeared from Rome around 1608 (photo to the right). As Catholics well know, the original image of the Holy Face appears on the veil of Veronica (kept in the Vatican), and on the Shroud of Turin, so how could anyone claim to have "discovered" the Veronica? Yet Fr. Pfeiffer boldly claimed his new discovery was the real Veronica, which he said was "probably" a cloth laid over the face of Jesus in the tomb after the crucifixion of Jesus, and that the image of our Lord's Face was miraculously transferred to the veil during His Resurrection. 

Since Fr. Pfeiffer's claims of discovering the image of Manoppello, a historian and journalist named Paul Badde has begun to work with Fr. Pfeiffer and has written two books on the subject. In his books Paul Badde states that on old paintings containing St. Veronica's veil, our Lord's eyes were open, while artwork sometime after the year 1600 shows the image on Veronica's veil with eyes closed. With this in mind, Paul Badde then came to the wild conclusion that the veil of Veronica in the Vatican must be a forgery. In his book, "The Face of God", he states, "The old Veronica must have disappeared from Saint Peter’s at least four hundred years ago. For four hundred years, likewise, the new Veronica in Saint Peter’s could only have been a more or less expensive, or cheap, sham." Fr. Pfeiffer boldly adds to this claim by saying the Popes of the Church since the 1600s have been covering up the fact that the veil of Veronica was stolen from the Vatican over 400 years ago. Fr. Pfeiffer states in the same book, “That is the cover-up and concealment of the fact that the Vatican lost the most important relic in Christendom four hundred years ago. The Veronica was stolen at that time—but to this day, no pope has openly said so."

Paul Badde adds to this wild conclusion by creating another. On page 64 of his book called, "The True Icon", he describes his visit to a painting in Pinerolo, Italy which shows a small angel holding a veil with an image of our Lord's face with eyes open, and concludes the angel must have been holding the veil with image of Manoppello!

In another instance, Fr. Pfeiffer claims to have located a book from Tiflis, in Georgia from the sixth century mentioning an "image of the Redeemer". Fr. Pfeiffer then makes the enormous assumption, "That must have been the image on the Veil at Manoppello.” Paul Badde and Fr. Pfeiffer have made numerous other fantastic assumptions on the subject and provide no solid proof for what they are claiming. They have apparently been working ever since to convince others of their theory.

Today there are now numerous books and websites promoting this story as fact, going as far as to claim there is no such thing as St. Veronica, or the veil with which she wiped the face of Jesus. In 2000, Fr. Pfeiffer blatantly denied the teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church by writing in the book entitled "Il Volto Santo di Manoppello" (The Holy Face of Manoppello) by Edizioni:

"There have already been attempts to remove the 6th station from the Way of the Cross in as much as modern theologians don't believe any more in the existence of a woman with the name of Veronica who would have given her veil to Christ in order to wipe his bloody face during the ascent to Calvary."

The Existence of St. Veronica

We need only look at approved Catholic books throughout the history of the Catholic Church to confirm that tradition has passed down to us the existence of St. Veronica, and that her veil is kept in the Vatican to this day:

  1. Ancient Ambrosian Breviary (16th century), Lesson III, on the feast day 4th February: "Veronica, a matron of Jerusalem, a disciple of Christ as tradition affirms, hastened to meet Our Savior as He was being led to the place of execution, bearing His Cross. Seeing His adorable Face bathed with sweat and blood, she was moved with deep love and compassion, and taking her veil from her head, she gave it to Him, in order to wipe away the sweat and blood. Then the most merciful Savior as a reward for her piety, gave her back the veil with the impress of His Divine Face as a pledge and memorial of her love. The pious lady received the veil with ardent devotion, retaining and preserving it as a precious treasure. This venerable Portrait then which has ground to be called the Holy Face or Sudarium of Veronica, is religiously kept in the Most Holy Vatican Basilica and is exposed to public veneration unstated days to a huge gathering of people."

  2. Manual of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face (1887), page 75: "Tradition has transmitted to us this memorable fact; it is, in the exercises of the way of the Cross, the subject of the sixth station, and the precious veil, with the miraculous image imprinted upon it, is kept, at the present day, in the Church of St. Peter at Rome, where, from time immemorial, it has been an object of supreme honour. Veronica herself, according to the communications made to Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre, is given us by our Lord as the model of the reparatory souls of which our epoch stands in need upon that other Calvary which the Church is climbing in the 19th century..."

  3. The Catechism Explained (1921), page 346: "It is well known that Our Lord miraculously imprinted His sacred countenance upon the cloth handed to Him by Veronica on the way to Calvary."

  4. The Golden Arrow (1954), page 153: "Our Lord then instructed me saying that I must imitate the courage of St. Veronica, who bravely broke through the mob of His enemies to reach Him, and that He now presented her to me as my protectress and as my model. Following this, our Lord told me that by practicing Reparation for blasphemy, we render Him the same service as did the pious Veronica and that just as He looked with kindly eyes upon this holy woman during His passion, so would He regard with affection all those who make reparation. I could see from our Lord's attitude that He had a very tender love for St. Veronica."

  5. A Catholic Dictionary (3rd Ed, 1958) , Veronica: "...the veil with which, according to a tradition, a compassionate woman wiped the face of our Lord when on His way to Calvary, an impression of His features remaining printed thereon. It is one of the greater relics preserved in St. Peter's at Rome and it may be handled and exposed for veneration only by a cannon of the Basilica."

  6. The Holy Face in the Documents of the Church, Pedica, (3rd Ed 1975), page 24: "… The fact that Veronica wiped the face of Jesus, according to the pious tradition of the faithful has never been in question…"

There are many, many flaws behind the claims surrounding the image of Manoppello, and below we will provide some obvious arguments.

Arguments against the Holy Face of Manoppello

·       Claims that St. Veronica was not mentioned in Scripture, therefore questioning her existence:

Those promoting the image of Manoppello are casting doubt on the existence of St. Veronica passed down to us throughout the history of the Catholic Church because the name of St. Veronica is not mentioned in Scripture. It was a common error of the Protestants to only accept writings documented in Scripture, and to ignore anything passed down via tradition. Catholics today need to be reminded that Scripture itself confirms that not everything is written in Scripture, and that we must also believe what is passed down via tradition. For example:

o   "But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written" John 21:25. Clearly there are many things Jesus said and did that were passed on as tradition (by word of mouth) and did not make it into the books of Scripture.

o   "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle." 2 Thessalonians 2:14. What else does this tell us than the Apostles spread the word of God not only through Epistles, but also by word, and that we should hold to the traditions which we are taught?

In addition to the quotes above confirming the existence of St. Veronica, to say St. Veronica didn't exist is to say the Catholic Church has misled the faithful throughout the entire history of the Catholic Church by encouraging veneration of her, by including her in the Stations of the Cross, by dedicating a large statue of St. Veronica holding her veil in the Vatican (see photo at right), and dedicating a chapel in her name in the Vatican, among countless other references in approved Catholic books. The Stations of the Cross have been approved to be displayed on the walls of all Catholic churches in the world for centuries. Not only that, but the Church has granted more indulgences for the Stations of the Cross than any other prayer. Are Catholics now to believe the sixth station showing Veronica wiping the face of Jesus has been fabricated all these centuries?! How could any Catholic even entertain the thought? Catholics need to be reminded that the Catholic Church is the "pillar and ground of truth". We have numerous promises from Christ Himself in Scripture stating that His Church would be free from error (known as the "Dogma of Infallibility of the Church"). To say that the Catholic Church has fooled the faithful all of these centuries into venerating a nonexistent St. Veronica is to deny these promises from Scripture. The infallibility of the Church is described clearly in "The Catechism Explained" (Spirago-Clarke), 1921:

o   "As Christ was not to remain always on earth, He appointed another infallible teacher, His Church, and provided it with the necessary gifts, especially with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Christ conferred on His Apostles and their successors the teaching office and promised them His divine assistance. Thus He said at His ascension into heaven: "Going, teach ye all nations...and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Matt, xxviii. 19, 20) ; and at the Last Supper: "I will ask the Father and He shall give you another Paraclete that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth"; (John xiv. 16, 17). To St. Peter He said: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church" (Matt. xvi. 18). Since Christ is the Son of God, His words must be true. If the Church, in the carrying out of her teaching office, could lead man into error, Christ would not have kept His word. Hence St. Paul calls the Church "the pillar and ground of truth" (1 Tim. iii. 15), and the measures decided upon by the Apostles in the Council of Jerusalem were introduced with the words: "For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us" (Acts xv. 28)."

·       Claims that the real “Veronica's veil" was actually a cloth found in Christ's tomb, where the image of Manoppello was miraculously transferred to it at the time of the Resurrection:

The Veronica is now suddenly claimed to be a cloth that was placed on the Shroud of Turin over the face of Jesus while in the tomb, and a "positive" of the image of the Holy Face supposedly transferred to the veil at the moment of Christ's Resurrection, while at the same time a "negative" was transferred to the shroud of Turin. Supporters of the Manoppello image refer to John 20:6 in Scripture as their proof, which mentions a separate cloth being found in Christ's tomb along with the Shroud. Where is this story found in Catholic books, and how can so-called "experts" in our day make the giant leap tying the image of Manoppello to the separate cloth mentioned in John 20:6? And are Catholics now to believe St. Veronica and her veil were fabricated for the last 20 centuries? This claim is not only completely unfounded, but we can see in the Stations of the Cross and other past writings from the Church that it has always been believed that St. Veronica wiped the face of Jesus as He carried His cross, and the miraculous image of His face was transferred to the veil at that time. Here is an example from the Manual of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face (1887) showing clearly the belief in St. Veronica and her veil: 

o   Models of reparation, page 75: “Our Lord has Himself willed to point out to us, what is, in regard to Him, the best means of reparation, first by raising up upon the road to Calvary a pious woman who offered him the solace of which he stood in need. Veronica perceives him laden with his Cross, climbing the mountain of his sacrifice; his Face soiled, wounded, bleeding. Listening only to her compassion and her piety, the courageous Israelite braves the raillery other fellow citizens, and the brutality of the executioners, and, making her way through the crowd, draws nigh to him; she detaches the veil of fine Egyptian linen which covers her head, spreads it over the wounded Face of the Saviour, gently wipes with it his adorable Face, solacing, contorting and reanimating it...”

·       Claims that the original Veronica's veil in the Vatican was stolen and swapped with a fake:

Fr. Pfeiffer, Paul Badde and many supporters of the image of Manoppello are claiming that St. Veronica's veil in the Vatican is currently a fake (having been previously stolen supposedly), and that the Vatican has been covering this up for over 400 years. When looking at such a bold accusation against the Catholic Church, we must ask ourselves, is this a sign of a true devotion when at the same time the promoters condemn over 400 years of popes (30 popes)? We are surprised Fr. Pfeiffer has not been severely reprimanded for this by now.

The Vatican has always clearly stated the original Veronica's veil remains in St. Peter's Basilica, and this is confirmed in the quotes above and found in numerous Catholic books. For example, "The Holy Face in the Documents of the Church" (Pedica, 1959) states on page 89, "When one speaks of the Face of Veronica, one wishes to point out the Greatest Sacred Relic, held since time immemorial in great veneration in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome."

We can also look at a sample of any Holy Face relic certificate (see example to the right created during the reign of Pope Pius IX). These certificates were attached to every Holy Face relic created in the Vatican throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, and were typically in Latin. The complete translation of the certificate can be found on our Holy Face Images page, but the point to be made here is that the certificates confirm the Holy Face images (as seen at the top of this article)  have been touched to the original veil of Veronica in the Vatican, in addition to the Lance and Relic of the True Cross. The images are also signed by either a Cardinal or the Pope himself, and sealed with Cardinal's/Pope's ring in red wax. What Catholic would accuse these Cardinals and Popes of forgery?

The most certain proof of all that the original veil of Veronica is in the Vatican is confirmed by the miracle in the Vatican in 1849, witnessed by the clergy and crowds of people there for three hours, and documented in the Vatican daybook. Even Paul Badde acknowledges this miracle in his book, "The Face of God", though he conveniently omits all of the miracles that happened afterward with Leo Dupont's copy of the same image in his home, which led to Pope Leo XIII establishing the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face. It is unlikely God would have granted such fabulous miracles with a fake veil, or copies of it. How could Paul Badde and Fr. Pfeiffer completely miss these most essential occurrences in the history of the Holy Face when they are documented in every Catholic book on the subject?

As for the claims that the image of our Lord's Face on Veronica's veil had eyes closed, we can simply look at the high resolution images of copies of the veil on this website to see that our Lord's eyes were actually partially open. Catholics must remember the origins of the Holy Face relics of the 1800s and 1900s (shown at the top of this article and on our Holy Face Images page). At the time of the miracle in the Vatican in 1849 when the original veil Veronica was exposed for veneration and began to glow with vivid detail, artists were called in during the 3 hours the miracle lasted, and sketched what they saw. The result was many different renditions of St. Veronica's veil with the image of our Lord's face with eyes partially open. This is what they all saw, so this is what they all created. It is these original copies that were used to create future relics over the years to come.

Pictured to the right: St. Therese of Lisieux (St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face) holding the true image of the Holy Face of Jesus from St. Veronica's veil (the same image that Manoppello promoters today have the audacity to say is not authentic).

·       Claims that the image of Manoppello and the image of the Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin are identical, thereby claiming they were both miraculously created at the same time in the tomb of Jesus:

There are claims from those supporting the image of Manoppello that supposed "experts" have investigated the image of Manoppello and the image of the Holy Face of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin, and are claiming they are identical. Looking at each of the side-by-side images directly below, the first question that comes to mind is, why then do the images of the Shroud and Manoppello look so incredibly different? And why does the image of Manoppello look so different from every picture of Jesus ever created throughout the history of the Catholic Church? No doubt these supposed experts want us to think they see something with their expertise that no one else can see. If someone can claim the image of Manoppello is identical to the Holy Face on the Shroud of Turin, then we can say just about any face is identical, for who can tell for certain but only the supposed experts?


·       The original Holy Face devotion has been swept aside:

Of the Manoppello websites we have reviewed, only a few mention in passing the Holy Face devotions approved by the Church in prior centuries. Also, none of these websites even mention the miraculous Holy Face image through which 30 years of miracles occurred in the home of Leo Dupont (the image at the top of this article), which is the primary reason the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was established in 1885. We have also noticed the Manoppello websites scarcely mention the reason God wanted the Holy Face devotion spread in the first place, which is to make reparation to God for the many sins of our day. Sister Mary of St. Peter quotes our Lord as referring to the Holy Face devotion that was about to be established throughout the world as "the most beautiful work under the sun", yet all of the Manoppello websites omit all of this information and would have us believe it is all obsolete, and that Manoppello is the new replacement?

·       All books located so far on the history of the Holy Face do not mention the image of Manoppello:

Of all the books that we have located so far which speak of the Holy Face, all contain an imprimatur but not a single one mentions the image of Manoppello (under that name or any other name). The most notable is the book, "The Holy Face in the Documents of the Church" by Stefano Pedica (Imprimatur, 1959), which is considered to be one of the most thorough on the history of the Holy Face, covering the time period from Scripture to 1959. Another notable book is, "The Message of Sister Mary of St. Peter" by Louis Van Den Bossche, Secretary of State to Pope Pius XII (Imprimatur 1953). This 200-page book highly praises Sr. Mary of St. Peter, Leo Dupont, and the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face, and does not make a single mention of the image of Manoppello, or anything about another image of the Face of Jesus on a cloth venerated over the centuries.

·       Lack of miracles:

If someone is going to come forward and make a bold claim that they have personally located a 2000-year-old relic that was placed over our Lord's Face in the tomb, some significant proof is obviously required, not just a statement from Father Pfeiffer saying that it was "probably" placed there. Historically the Church has relied on first-class miracles for this proof. When the three crosses on Calvary were first excavated by St. Helena in the 4th century, it was only through first-class miracles that they determined which one was the relic of the true cross of Jesus. No one would dare venerate all three crosses without a miraculous sign first. Likewise, the image of Manoppello has never had such miraculous signs associated with it, or we would all have known about it by now. No Catholic should begin venerating what they think is a relic without such a sign, and approval by the Church. We need not start looking for a miraculous sign now, because one would have already occurred if the image of Manoppello were a true relic. We already have a true relic of the Holy Face confirmed by miracles in that of the image on St. Veronica's veil, so Catholics shouldn't be looking for a replacement.

Perhaps Paul Badde and Father Pfeiffer are not looking for miracles because they don't believe in them. Paul Badde states in his book, "The Face of God", "I knew that in large parts of the Church, it had been a long time since miracles were believed in, even by many priests and bishops, even in Rome—not even everyone in the Vatican believed in them. That belief in miracles had to be denounced as magic or explained away in technical terms had long been familiar to me. Miracles do not compel people or compel them to do anything. They do not even compel anyone to believe." How can any Catholic say this when Jesus states in John 14:12 that those who believe would work miracles? And why do we see repeated mention of miracles in the lives of the Saints? Furthermore, why did the First Vatican Council mandate belief in miracles through the following statement?: "If anyone says that all miracles are impossible, and that therefore all reports of them, even those contained in sacred scripture, are to be set aside as fables or myths; or that miracles can never be known with certainty, nor can the divine origin of the christian religion be proved from them: let him be anathema."

·       The current promoters of the image of Manoppello have no authority to declare it is a true relic:

The definition of "relic" in "A Catholic Dictionary" (Attwater, Imprimatur 1957) states, "The veneration of Christian relics can be traced at least to the middle of the 2nd century and was regulated by the Council of Trent, which directed that no new relics should be admitted without episcopal authentication". Further down it also mentions, "But only those (relics) may be publicly honored for which a proper authentication is held". The image of Manoppello does not have this episcopal authentication, so people such as author Paul Badde (a layperson) and even a priest like Fr. Pfeiffer do not have the authority to declare the image of Manoppello to be a relic. The Church must research the matter and give approval. A visit by Benedict XVI is not considered approval by the Church.

As of December, 2016, we now see in the news that Mr. Paul Badde has announced he has held a private interview with Archbishop Bruno Forte, who believes the image of Manoppello is a true relic. Catholics need to be aware that Archbishop Bruno Forte has publicly promoted homosexuality and cohabitation (adultery and fornication), and makes no objections to Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried (articles available on Catholic news websites). Promoting such evils has been condemned in Scripture and has always been condemned by the Catholic Church, so it is heresy to promote them. According to the Baltimore catechism then, Bruno Forte is not an Archbishop, but an apostate:

Baltimore Catechism: “Q. 554. Could a person who denies only one article of our faith be a Catholic?
A. A person who denies even one article of our faith could not be a Catholic; for truth is one and we must accept it whole and entire or not at all.”

      Even if this man were an archbishop, a personal opinion given in a private interview does not constitute an official pronouncement from the Church on the subject.


·       Paul Badde and Fr. Pfeiffer do not present their story as fact and show continuous uncertainty with what they are presenting:

Some quotes from the book, "The Face of Jesus":

o   "...there is no end to the concepts and names surrounding this image (of the Holy Face). We hardly know what to call it ourselves……Who could be surprised that all this confusion has completely bewildered many and that hardly anyone asks about the hard core of truth behind all of it?"

o   Who do you suppose committed it (theft of the veil of Veronica), then, and why, exactly?” Fr. Pfeiffer: “That is unclear and will perhaps always remain unclear."

o   "Compared with the kind of thriller one might have been able to construct from this story, my book is as pious as a hymnbook. There are still many details in it that are incredible, which must make some people’s hair stand on end.

o   "Whether, then, the Veil at Manoppello perhaps did not originate from Christ’s tomb—that I no longer knew; nobody knew. Nor was I expecting that anybody would ever be able to answer that question in any convincing fashion....

o   That is why there will never be a closing chapter, a closing paragraph to this book. Everything about this image is improbable…..The Face itself, however, will always have the last word.


When we see people come forward claiming they have found one of the greatest relics in Christianity, and at the same time they are both accusing over 400 years of popes of a cover-up, and denying the teaching of the magisterium regarding St. Veronica and her veil, these are enormous red flags. Add to this the extreme assumptions being put forth to promote the supposed relic without solid proof through documentation and miracles, and without approval from the Catholic Church, and this supposed relic should be entirely avoided. Not only is solid proof not found in Catholic books for the image of Manoppello being a relic, but it's promoters also conveniently exclude Leo Dupont, Sr. Mary of St. Peter, the image of the Holy Face on Veronica's veil, and the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face from their writings. This has all the signs of something to be avoided.

No one can rightly believe in the image of Manoppello being created in the tomb of Jesus and at the same time the image of the Holy Face on Veronica's veil, given that Father Pfeiffer's story is that Manoppello is the true image, and that Veronica's veil is not. The two stories cannot coexist at the same time, and Catholic books only show support for one. For one to believe the story attached to the image of Manoppello, they must also at the same time condemn the Stations of the Cross and the Holy Face devotion previously approved by the Church, as each of these are dependent on the existence of St. Veronica and the veil with which she wiped the face of Jesus. No one can possibly challenge the Stations of the Cross and Holy Face devotion approved by the Church and still call themselves Catholic.

We were contacted by Fr. Pfeiffer via e-mail when this article was first posted on our website in 2014. At that time we asked him for some answers to the inconsistencies brought up in this article. He replied briefly without providing any answers, and has not been heard from since.

The story behind the image of Manoppello being a relic from the tomb of Jesus is not only completely unfounded, but was obviously created to try and discredit the true image of the Holy Face on the veil of Veronica still in the Vatican. The image of Manoppello is at best an old painting created with human hands, and has absolutely nothing to do with the Holy Face devotion approved by the Church in the 1800s. Several people have written to us, repeating what is found in books and on other websites, stating that the image of Manoppello is miraculous in itself because of its physical qualities (i.e. supposedly not having any pigments and having visibility from both sides). Even if this were true, such qualities would not be considered miraculous; there is very much possible with today's technology. How can anyone possibly compare such insignificant physical qualities of a painting to 30 years of first-class miracles in the home of Leo Dupont?

In the book "The Golden Arrow", Our Lord mentioned to Sister Mary of St. Peter numerous times that the devil was going to do all in his power to prevent the Holy Face devotion from being established. Considering all of the observations we make above, we believe the story behind the image of Manoppello is nothing but a distraction from the true image and Archconfraternity, and was started by the devil himself. Catholics should give no attention to this hoax. The Catholic Church already has an approved Holy Face devotion and Archconfraternity approved by papal bull, confirmed through repeated first-class miracles, as detailed on this website. Only the devil himself would try to abolish the original devotion.


Immaculate Heart of Mary Apostolate