Well even an unscandalised former altar boy like me had doubts about Padre Pio‘s stigmata – even as an 11-year old, I suspected it that it might be a load of bollicks. And it was bollicks – carbolics, in fact, in the form of acid.
Padre Pio, the friar with fingerless gloves whose image is found on a million Catholic key chains; who was canonised before 200,000 ecstatic pilgrims five years ago, was a charlatan who deliberately mutilated himself with acid to give the appearance of bearing the stigmata of Christ, according to evidence to be published next week.
In the summer of 1919, the 28-year-old cousin of a pharmacist in the southern city of Foggia, a deeply religious young woman called Maria de Vito, made the pilgrimage to Pio’s church, San Giovanni. The pharmacist told his local bishop, Mgr Salvatore Bella, “When she returned to Foggia she brought the greetings of Padre Pio and asked me in his name, and in strict secrecy, for carbolic acid, telling me that Padre Pio had need of it, and giving me the little bottle he had given her, capacity 100g, and with a skull and crossbones.”
Well, I suppose you got to respect the man – in between the flagellation and the shagging, he was intent on suffering for his art…
The Independent: Padre Pio ‘faked his stigmata with acid’
Just found links to al these Irish Padre Pio stories:
Padre Pio ‘fixed’ Coyler’s leg »
“Jack McCarthy and his family believe his leg – and his life – was saved through the intercession of the St Pio.”
Padre Pio saved my leg and my life »
Padre Pio The Irish Connection’ written by Wicklow-based author Bray miracle’ features in new Padre Pio book »
How Padre Pio influenced wing wonder Damien Duff »