The Infamous Ferrante Fakes

Much of the information circulating about "Ferrante Fakes" comes from the website linked below. However, use caution while reading this resource as it abounds in inaccurate information.

Fake relics and Father LeBlanc


The Story Behind the Story

Father Ferrante was the postulator general for the Redemptorists from the early 1960s until he passed away in the late 80s. For some unknown reason he had unprecedented and unlimited access to the reliquary of the Vicariate of Rome. During his tenure he issued thousands of relics, much to the consternation of the Augustinian nuns who were custodians of the relics.

Father Francis LeBlanc was a priest and pastor of Our Lady of the Sun International Shrine near Phoenix, Arizona. He ran into problems with the archbishop of Phoenix when he refused to comply with all of his dictates following Vatican 2, including continuing to say the Latin Mass. Father LeBlanc stated that he was pastor of an international shrine and not subject to the bishop of Phoenix. The bishop tried to remove him as a priest but, again, he did not comply and continued to say the Latin mass at his church. Somewhere along the line he made a connection with Father Ferrante through an intermediary and worked out a deal where Father Ferrante would provide LeBlanc with relics for him to give to supporters. This infuriated the bishop even more and he stated that the relics of LeBlanc were all fakes and requested that the Vatican relinquish the shrine to his control. When Father Leblanc died a court battle ensued, with the Arizona Diocese trying to take the Shrine property for itself. Two or three high Vatican officials came in defense of the Shrine and the Holy Relics of Leblanc and legally took charge of the Shrine, which is an international shrine and not a diocese property, and they installed a priest of their choosing.

The article we link on our webpage was written by a supporter of the bishop and is full of many inaccuracies and downright lies. We have seen hundreds of Ferrante relics over the years and have only run into a very few that were obvious fakes. I have several lengthy emails from a fellow in Arizona who was right in the middle of the conflict and he explained much of it to me.

It his likely that even Father Ferrante's superiors were unaware of his association with LeBlanc.

I might mention that a short time after the story surfaced, the archbishop was arrested for drunken driving that caused an accident that killed a person. The Vatican forced him into retirement.

In his earlier years Father Ferrante produced relics with documents printed on high quality papers. However, in later years, because it was expensive and no longer practical, he switched to 'Xerox' type documents. Much of this was due to the high volume of requests being received. Due to this same factor, Father Ferrante and the Augustinian Sisters who were helping him frequently got sloppy in their rush. Wax seals were poorly executed, mistakes were made on some documents and, at times, the seal of the Vicariate of Rome was accidentally used rather than that of the Redemptorists.

This is the story in a nutshell. It is quite a long and complicated story.

Our ministry has examined hundreds of Ferrante relics over the last few years and we have found very few confirmed fake relics. The majority of those were produced/sold by one single dealer in Argentina who specialized in nothing but fakes. His "Ferrantes" in no way resembled any genuine Ferrantes and could not be mistaken for them. Father Ferrante had unprecedented access to the relics of the Vicariate of Rome and was a prodigious producer of relics. We feel the rumors of fake Ferrante relics has been blown way out of proportion to actuallity.


A Genuine Ferrante seal.

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