Padre Pio or Alladin's Genie?

Brian asked: My question is what do you think of Padre Pio? Was he for real? Was it all fake? Was it Satanic/demonic? Or something else?

My Response: Before going any farther, I want to make it clear to everyone who reads here that, in my considered opinion, Padre Pio was a a fake, no different from those "miracle workers" who today run around the planet telling stories of how they had raised the dead, cured terminal cancers, visited Heaven and walked with Jesus or saved people by smashing them in the forehead with the heels of their hands.

Catholics are not the only religious folks who believe in fairy tales. There are plenty of people wandering the professing Christian world who make claims of acts and powers every bit as outrageous as those attributed to Pio. Many of them can be seen on early morning TV.

I read several pages of the book you mentioned but had to stop. I was approaching my B.S. intake limits.

The book, and other places online, reported that the carnivalesque Capuchin was able to be in two places at once, which is called "bilocation." I suppose that was a necessary ability for a guy who reportedly rarely left the confines of the monastery.

Among the reported out-of-body activities of the peripatetic Pio was his appearance at a World War I battlefield just in the nick of time to convince an Italian general to not blow his brains out. Being a faithful Catholic, his other self was present when St. Therese was beatified. Of course it could be that the bishop who reportedly saw him may have been suffereng from an overdose of incense puffing.

My favorite report of the marvelous monk's bilocations had to do with American and British bomber crews on a mission during World War II. Since the target was close to Pio's monastery, I reckon Pio sent his other self to position itself in front of the inbound bombers. I suppose the image of a Capuchin monk floating in the air with his arms outstretched really impressed the bomb-droppers for, according to the fantasy, they aborted the mission. Unfortunately, the story does not provide information as to what happened to the errant and disloyal flyers when they brought their bombs back home with them.

Pio apparently liked to restore or grant sight to the blind, and even gave vision to a little girl who was born without pupils in her eyes. He did deny this miracle to at least one petitioner, we are informed. This was a young man who was required to choose between seeing or saving his soul. The fellow chose to save his soul, and spent the rest of his life blind. Hard man, that Pio.

Pio had a special relationship with angels. In fact, he told folks that if they wanted to contact him, all they had to do was send their guardian angels with the message. I feel cheated. During all the years that I was Catholic, no one ever told me that I could talk with my guardian angel, much less send him as a messenger.

Pio, it is claimed, had a very close relationship with his own guardian angel. In fact, he and the angel would stay up until late in the night chanting God's praises. The angel also took away some of the pain when Pio was beaten by demons. As if all that were not enough, the angel also taught Pio how to translate letters in French and Greek.

Pio was not a little guy, he weighed in at about 170 pounds, but is said to have eaten only three-and-a-half ounces of food per day. He also did not sleep more than a few hours a day. I suppose that was because he claimed always to be tormented and beaten by demons. These beatings were good things, for Pio appreciated being able to share the pain of Christ.

What good would it do to be a mystic if he weren't able to visit personally with Jesus? Of course he did. In fact, Jesus left His place at the right hand of the Father and came down to earth to visit with Pio. From what I read, it seems that Jesus, Second Person of the all-powerful Trinity, used those visits to whine to Pio about how badly He was being treated by priests and others.

And now to Padre Pio's startling stigmata? Catholics, of course, are likely to get all misty whenever they are mentioned. Inquiring minds, however, are more likely to want to see verifiable evidence.

The stigmata we are concerned with in this study are those that supposedly appear miraculously on a mystic's body in the locations of Christ's wounds. I've never seen a mystic's stigmata personally, but I have seen photos of their lesions. I have actually watched as flagelants allowed themselves to be nailed to makeship crosses. In every case, including photos of Pio's hands, the lesions or nails were in the wrong places.

Catholic mystics and others seem always to depict Christ's wounds as having occured when nails were driven through His feet from the instep downward to the arch, and through the palms of His hands. Like the cross that Catholics and non-Catholic professing Christians hang on the walls of their churches and homes, they do not accurately depict the way that Romans did things.

From my reading is appears that the Roman army generally used a tau cross (shaped like a capital T), but also used whatever was handy, such as trees, etc. As used in Jerusalem, the uprights were more or less permanently installed. The convicted person had only to carry the stipes, or crossbar, to the site of his execution.

Roman soldiers surely had a pretty good idea of how the internal structure of the human body was arranged. It seems extremely unlikely that they ever would have nailed a person to anything by driving the nails through the palms of his hands -- unless they wanted him to be able to wriggle loose and escape. I would imagine that the Roman soldiers routinely drove nails through the wrist, in the area outlined in orange, where bone would prevent the hand from tearing free.

Like the hand, the human foot is mostly a bunch of connected small bones that likely would constitute a weak structure for nailing through. There is a spot on the foot, however, that would appear to have been designed for nails. Check out the hollow between the Talus (2) and the Calcaneus (1). Archeologists discovered the bones of someone who had been crucified, and there was a rusty iron nail through the foot from side to side

If the above conclusions are accurate, then one wonders why artists persistently show nails in the palms of Jesus' hands and through the tops of His feet. Could be due to a misinterpretation of Scripture. In John 20:27, resurrected Jesus tells Thomas to check out the wounds in His hands and side. In the old days, the wrist was considered to be a part of the hand.

Whether driven through the top or side of the foot, between the fingers or behind the wrist, the nails that penetrated Christ's appendages surely passed from skin to skin, leaving entrance and exit wounds and a wound channel between them. I am not aware that any of the stigmatic mystics displayed anything but oozing sores or red spots on their skin. Would the failure to display a complete representation of Christ's wounds be considered to be only a little miracle?

There are alternative possibilities. I reckon that many who read here are personally aware of the fact that scar tissue is delicate compared to skin tissue that has not been injured. A scrape on unijured skin might leave only a temporary red mark, while that same scrape over scar tissue might ooze blood. Some readers likely have watched wrestling matches and know that there are wrestlers who bleed during almost every encounter, while others don't. If you have the opportunity, look closely at the faces and foreheads of the bleeders. You surely will see scar tissue. I am told that bleeders are considered to be better showmen than dry guys and, therefore, are likely to earn more during their careers. All it takes is a bump on the forehead to start the blood and thrill the cheering fans.

What works for wrestlers should work for Capuchin monks also.

Another method for creating and maintaining oozing wounds that do not penetrate all the way through or leave a wound channel, is to use chemical irritants to distress the flesh. Could this be the secret to Padre Pio's amazing stigmata? Go Googling for PADRE PIO and CARBONIC. Be fair and read reports from both Catholics and non-Catholics to help you make up your mind.

As for Pio's bilocation, transverberation, healings, resurrections, etc., as far as I am concerned it's all done with smoke and mirrors.

Hope that helps

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