Five years ago, before an ecstatic crowd of 200,000 pilgrims, the Church of Rome officially declared a Capuchin friar popularly known as Padre Pio a saint. Pio had for years worn fingerless gloves that covered what he claimed were stigmata, a supernatural reproduction of the wounds of Christ. His image is on a million key chains and carried around as some holy charm by deluded devotees. The evidence is that the Vatican knew that the man they were canonizing was a fake and a charlatan.
An Italian historian, Sergio Luzzatto has written a devastating expose, Padre Pio, Miracles and Politics in 20th century Italy, in which he produces new evidence from Vatican archives, which he says proves that the friar secretly procured carbolic acid with which to burn his hands, feet and sides.
There is little here that the Vatican did not already know. Two successive popes regarded Padre Pio as a fraud. By 1920, when Pio was 33 and was already exhibiting his scars before masses of pilgrims, Rome commissioned investigations that reported that Pio regularly scourged himself with a metal-tipped whip, and had sex with women twice a week. For many years Pio was banned from celebrating mass in public. Remember, these were Vatican findings, accepted by two popes. One thing that seemed to support Pio's claims was that the wounds on his hands did not heal when treated and bandaged by a Vatican-commissioned doctor. Now, however, Sergio Luzzatto has unearthed a letter that Pio wrote to a young woman requesting her to obtain carbolic acid from her cousin who was a pharmacist. This is what he used to keep his wounds weeping.
The letter begging for carbolic acid was in the Vatican archives and it had all the evidence it needed to brand Padre Pio a fake and a charlatan. It didn't. Instead, it removed the ban it had placed on him and milked the notoriety that his claimed stigmata so easily gained. Knowing from its own investigations that far from being a saint, Pio was an immoral scoundrel, a liar and a cheat, a man who willfully built up a persona for himself that was utterly at variance with what he really was, the Vatican declared him a saint! Why worry about small details like morality and honesty when there are millions of dollars to be made by touting the mystical virtues of Saint Pio? In keeping with Rome's black history, money and the power it brings trump morality every time. And this is the system that sets itself up as the moral compass of the world!
Already the Catholic Anti-defamation League has gone into action. Luzzatto's claims are utterly false, they assure us. Why? Because according to Roman dogma canonization involves the infallibility of the pope! So we are to disregard two popes who believed Pio an immoral fraud and declare all the evidence false just to uphold the infallibility of John Paul II. If it weren't so serious it would be laughable.