Friday, October 26, 2007

Pope poo-pooed Pio

Padre Pio, the famous stigmatic who died in 1968 and was canonized in 2002, had one very high-placed doubter: Pope John XXIII. The late pope wrote in his personal diaries, according the U.K. Times Online: "I am sorry for PP, who has a soul to be saved, and I pray for him intensely. What happened - that is, the discovery because of the films - si vera sunt quae referentur (if it is true what they say) - of his intimate and incorrect relations with the women who constitute his Pretorian guard, which even now stands firm around him, leads one to think of a vast disaster of souls which has been diabolically set up to discredit the Holy Church in the world, and especially in Italy." Ouch! The Times further reports that Pio's much-celebrated stigmata was self-inflicted with carbolic acid. Don't know the background on PP's "Pretorian guard."

Padre Pio was, however, a favorite of JPII, who not only oversaw his canonization but made Pio's memorial obligatory for every church--in other words, celebrating his feast day is not optional. I guess his vote counts more than J23.

The Times article originally had one howler, about one of PP's supposed spiritual gifts: "Followers of Padre Pio believe he exuded 'the odour of sanctity,' had the gift of bipolarism (being in two places at once), healed the sick and could prophesy the future." As one commenter rightly noted, that gift is bilocation. (The article is now fixed.)

Of course, PP is now elevated to the altars, along with folks like Josemaria Escriva, who also had some troubles in his past according to some. Not that I doubt either is in heaven. But it makes one wonder if the canonization process is sometimes more a testament to how easy it is to get into heaven rather than a testimony to how hard it is.

God's mercy covering a multitude of sins and all.



Post a Comment

<< Home