Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Padre Pio fraud.

A new book by historian Sergio Luzzatto, The Other Christ: Padre Pio and 19th Century Italy, argues that there is documentary evidence that the allegedly “saint” was a fraud. Now there’s a surprise.

As far as I’m concerned Pio, whose real name was Franceso Forgione, claimed to be a stigmatic, one whose body exhibited the wounds of Christ. In 1911 the priest wrote a letter claiming that he felt pain in the middle of his hands and under his feet and that a red mark appeared. But he conveniently prayed that they be removed and they were. He didn’t pray that the pain be removed and he insisted he still felt it but that now God made the marks invisible so other people couldn’t see them.

Pio claimed the marks appeared in the center of his hand. A nail through that section of the hand would not hold a body to the cross. The nails would have to be two to three inches further done. Apparently God, in giving people the “wounds” of Christ mislocated them. In reality stigmatic frauds mimic the wounds they see in popular art.

Pio claimed that the love of God was exhibited through suffering inflicted on the believer. What a masochist! And the crazy priest claimed that Satan appeared before as naked girls dancing, as the Pope, and even as the alleged Virgin herself. In another incident the priest claimed he was hearing confession in August, 1918 where he was “suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person”. The boy in confession apparently would not see this apparition since Pio claimed the vision was in “my mind’s eye.” The apparition supposed threw a steel blade that emitted fire into him causing great pain and he claimed he was in constant pain from that point on.

Pio was always claiming to be sickly and in pain even as a young man. During the First World War he was in the army but spent much of his time in the infirmary. It appears to me that the priest had a psychiatric condition known as Munchausen syndrome. The founder of Rome’s Catholic university hospital concluded that the priest was “an ignorant and self-mutilating psychopath who exploited people’s credulity.” Reports to the Pope, about the priest, claimed he used a metal-tipped whip to beat himself. Of course in religion mental illness can easily be sanctified. In theological fantasy the mentally ill are either demon possessed or saints.

Pio then claimed that Christ popped down for a visit and inflicted the “wounds” on his body on October 22, 1918. This time the wounds were permanent. His followers say he preferred to “suffer in secret” though letters telling people about his wounds survive and the priest allowed pictures of himself to be taken where he appears to be showing off the wounds int he most obvious way possible. He even announced, at one point, “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering, but all in secret.” Somehow announcing it makes it less than secret, quite the contrary it publicizes the suffering and creates the attention that is being sought.

In 1923 the priest was forbidden to teach the boys at the monastery school because the Vatican considered him a “a noxious Socrates, capable of perverting the fragile lives and souls of boys.” And when he admitted to taking money during confession he was forbidden to hear confession.

Luzzatto reveals that the Vatican has the signed testimony of a pharmacist, Marie de Vito, that: “Padre Pio called me to him in complete secrecy and telling me not to tell his fellow brothers, he gave personally an empty bottle, and asked if I would act as a chauffeur to transport it back from Foggia to San giovanni Rotondo with four grams of pure carbolic acid.” The testimony had been secured and given to the Vatican by the Archbishop of Manfredonia who believed that Pio was a fraud.

Even some pro-Pio publications have written that the priest periodically would smell of carbolic acid. Others claimed that there was a sweet, flowery smell coming from the wounds. Of course if the smell of carbolic acid was problem then Pio might wish to cover it up by perfuming himself heavily.

The revelation of the document has brought about an interesting response from the fundamentalist Catholics. Pietro Siffi of the Catholic Anti-Defamation League argued that Pope John Paul II declared Pio to be a saint and “canonization carries with it papal infallibility.” Well, that settles it.

After the death of the priest the Pope pushed through canonization for the priest. It was a kind of drive-through window for sainthood.

Interestingly as the priest got older his wounds seemed to fade. Now a physical explanation would be that aging made it harder for him to fake the wounds. And when he died and his body was examined there were no wounds apparent at all. Yet, the wounds were alleged to have been present his entire life. This would indicate very superficial wounds that healed unless aggrevated intentionally.

And it should be noted that stigmatics don’t actually every exhibt marks of crucifixion as is widely assumed. For instance there is no indication that there were actual holes in the hands of Pio, merely wounds on the skin itself -- something that can be caused by various irritants. In addition if you look at the photos of Padre Pio you may notice something of interest regarding the wounds. In the photo when he was younger the wounds appear smaller, rounder and near the center of his palms (which is not where the nails would have gone during a crucifixion). In the photo of the older Pio the wound not only enlarged, and became more more dramatic, but is now closer to his thumb, which is still the wrong place anyway.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Ethereal said...

I am glad that I have read this article because I remember seeing pictures of Padre Pio. The first picture I have seen at school when I was young.

I have leared a lot lately and this article increased my knowledge.

Thanks NGZ.

Robert

November 01, 2007

 
Blogger thepomegranate said...

Of all the reading I've done on Padre Pio, yours appears to be the least informed. You raise some important points, but an objective account of his life would show that the preponderance of evidence of his credibility is quite compelling. It would also show that numerous investigations from skeptical doctors and scientists proved unable to account for his stigmata (among hundreds of other alleged miracles which could not be otherwise explained. So many, in fact, that a large number of investigating skeptics became believers). I think you're constructing an argument based on a presupposed conclusion, rather than on the facts. But kudos for taking on an important topic.

January 21, 2008

 
Blogger whatisittolove said...

I agree with thepomegranate. Please do a little more research before posting such an opinionated stance masked as fact. There are many good explanations for the things you said, some of wich are true in content, but not in context. The ones that are purely opinion based, I will not comment on, for it is obvious that they are simply your opinion and I have no right saying more than that. However, before only looking at one side of it, do a little research on the other side and you may be pretty surprised as to the convincing evidence you find.
Peace, always.

February 12, 2008

 
Blogger LFB said...

What is amusing is that you can always tell the religionists -- you just can't tell them much. When it comes to the "mysteries" of their theology they implore you to have faith. But if you dispute them they demand facts. They continually evade issues and argue in whichever manner doesn't require them to prove anything. Have faith that this priest had miracles happening and ignore the most likely scenario -- that he inflicted the wounds himself.

This article linked to at least two reputable news stories to back it up. The religionists link to no reputable sources at all, just make snide, snearing remarks. Ah, the evidence of faith. How little satisfies it and how much it demands to repudiate it.

February 12, 2008

 
Blogger Infidel said...

Where can I find Luzzatto's book?

March 04, 2008

 
Blogger James Noel Ward said...

"After the death of the priest the Pope rushed through canonization for the priest. It was a kind of drive-through window for sainthood."

Padre Pio died in 1968. He wasn't canonized until 2002. If thirty-four (34) years is a "rushed" "drive-through window for sainthood" I'd hate to see what process you'd considerable reasonable, cautious and measured.

April 25, 2008

 
Blogger Brothergrimm said...

"What is amusing is that you can always tell the religionists -- you just can't tell them much." While funny, this is a generalization that can actually reduce you credibility in discussions of matter like these. It's also condescending to call this person's article the "least informed" without offering specific examples of what you object to.
20th century medicine is well advanced from what it was 100 years before, but it certainly wasn't perfect, and there were doctors that examined him and found nothing supernatural about his wounds as well. All evidence of healing is anecdotal, especially since the healed still showed physical symptoms of their problems despite having been healed. Many report seeing him in a dream or as they are falling asleep or in extreme pain, and this is used aas evidence of bilocation, completely ignoring the concept of hallucination.
This person's article is biased, but not uninformed. His reference was condemned by the Vatican who reportedly did everything in their legal power to keep this book out of the hands of people.
Reading Renzo Allegro, one reads only a little bit about the skepticism, but it is not truly invstigated, nor is there anything about how much of that anecdotal evidence has since been proven false.
Occam's Razor, people. His wounds being superficial are much easier to prove than they're being supernatural.

October 06, 2008

 
Blogger borled said...

The suggestion by the author that the Romans didn't crucify prisoners through the palm is actually a modern myth. It stems from some geniuses assertion that the palm of the hand would not be strong enough to support a human body on the cross. It misses the point entirely that the Romans tied the prisoners hands to the cross as well & also there feet were sometimes on a wooden peg. They did in fact nail the palm of the hand when crucifying prisoners so the wounds are right where there supposed to be. And I am not religious nor do I attend mass but felt I had to point out a major inaccuracy which is repeated several times even though it is unsubstantiated rubbish.

October 24, 2008

 
Blogger Phoney Baloney said...

Very good. The pious frauds called "stigmatics" were probably all Munchausen patients, and all of them, notably, spent long periods of time away from the public, presumably so that they could spend less time gouging their own hands.

With regard to the religionists who say, "You need to do more reading": No, I do not need to read every spurious book written by the Jesus freaks in order to conclude that their iron age fairy tale is false, just as I do not need to read every book written by an astrologer to know that astrology is false.

Finally, the people who say "But so many doctors were mystified -- mystified, we tell you!" The religionists said the same thing about the shroud of Turin, despite overwhelming evidence by _real_ scientists that explained exactly what it was: a 14th century cloth painting. See link:

http://www.mcri.org/home/section/63-64/the-shroud-of-turin

May 05, 2009

 
Blogger Hernan said...

It is amazing how religionists abuse the phrase "it's been verified by scientists and doctors".

I don't know in the US, but in latin European countries and in South America many (if not most) doctors are believers... plus medicine is not a science per se, more of an "engineering" discipline (i.e. applying stuff invented by someone else). So sure, you can get a "doctor in medicine" to testify that something "puzzles" them.

As for scientists, the veracity of these accounts is questionable. The media where you get these stories will typically exaggerate/massage statements in their favor, e.g. the typical "the paint was made from materials not of this earth" (talking about the Virgin of Guadalupe), clearly no real scientists would ever say something like that.

June 16, 2009

 
Blogger dan-pol77 said...

Pio was bandit and a fraud !!!

Church always lies.......look back how many lifes church has wasted through the centries....

Realist

July 19, 2009

 
Blogger Robert said...

It sad to hear those comment negatively and profoundly on something they truly do not understand themselves. Their egos big and hatred for purity bigger. Allowing their voice, their opinion to be heard from the curious and the believers. Hoping that even one word would help change someone's mind. There have been many events that have taken place in our history... religious and non-religious, that today cannot be explained. People of all kinds will publish, will say, will preach what they believe things to be..again with ego taking part of this act, and people with weak wills will listen and follow. Faith is what Faith means. To believe unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence. Allow those who are CURIOUS to be curious without sending messages of your own beliefs because your word truly means nothing. Allow those who have FAITH to have faith instead of discouraging. Words are powerful, especially to those with weak wills. There are many with open hearts, open minds that at a given moment in their lives, may need something as pure, as good and innocent as Padre Pio. Don't be selfish and destroy that for them. You may not believe but who is to say that this is not factual. NO ONE PERSON can prove... ever. Not even any said findings in a book that someone published for wealth. No matter what you say or how hard you try, you would never come out ahead.

November 10, 2009

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Robert: That is one of the most incoherent statements I've ever seen in print. The sentences are void of meaning. The man was not pure or innocent but an unscrupulous fraud. But the naive and those who wish to be duped will believe. That is their right.

November 10, 2009

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Robert: That is one of the most incoherent statements I've ever seen in print. The sentences are void of meaning. The man was not pure or innocent but an unscrupulous fraud. But the naive and those who wish to be duped will believe. That is their right.

November 10, 2009

 

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