Skip to comments.Popular Italian Catholic saint exhumed 40 years on (Padre Pio's body in fair condition)
Posted on 03/03/2008 5:33:15 AM PST by NYer
ROME, March 3 (Reuters Life!) - The body of the mystic monk Padre Pio, one of the Roman Catholic world's most revered saints who died 40 years ago, has been exhumed to be prepared for display to his many devotees.
The body of the Capuchin friar, who was said to have had the stigmata -- the wounds of Christ's crucifixion -- on his hands and feet -- is to be conserved and put in a part-glass coffin for at least several months from April 24.
A Church statement said the body was in "fair condition", particularly the hands, which Archbishop Domenico D'Ambrosio, who witnessed the exhumation in the southern Italian town where Pio died, said "looked like they had just undergone a manicure".
A spokesman for the monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo said he believed morticians would be able to conserve the face of the bearded monk well enough for it to be recognisable.
The body, which had been buried under marble in a crypt, was exhumed during a three-hour service that ended after midnight.
A Catholic magazine once found that far more Italian Catholics prayed to Padre Pio than to any other icon of the faith, including the Virgin Mary or Jesus.
Some 7 million people visit his tomb every year. There are some 3,000 "Padre Pio Prayer Groups" around the world, with a membership of around 3 million.
The friar, born Francesco Forgione, died in 1968 aged 81.
Among the stories that surround him is one that he wrestled with the devil in his monastery cell.
Padre Pio is also said to have predicted future events, to have been seen in two places at once, and to have been able to tell people their sins before they confessed them to him.
Pope John Paul II made him a saint in 2002 at a ceremony that drew one of the biggest crowds ever to the Vatican after the Church said it had found evidence that the miraculous cure of a sick woman was due to the dead monk's intercession.
But Padre Pio was dogged during his life and even after his death by accusations that he was a fraud.
A new book last year suggested he was a self-harming man who may have used carbolic acid to create wounds in his hands mimicking those of Christ when he was nailed to the cross.
Church officials have repeatedly denied that he was a fake. (Editing by Kevin Liffey)
I’m sorry to hear this. I was hoping he’d be left decently in his grave.
Thanks for the ping NYer.I work with a priest who concelebrated Mass with him.He loves stories of Saint Padre Pio.
They look like burns to me.
That one close up does.Father could see the wounds on Padre Pio hands and he said they were real.
Funny you should say that - Italy's Padre Pio 'faked his stigmata with acid'
None could provide a cogent scientific explanation based on the known laws of science. Furthermore, the stigmata were just one of a variety of mystical phenomena associated with the Padre, all of which eluded rational explanations.
There have been fake stigmatists over the years but the fraud usually comes to light very quickly and it never stands the test of time. That's because there have been a considerable number of genuine stigmatists down through the centuries, including St. Francis of Assisi and the Church has become fairly adept at spotting the fakers.
I'll be he has plenty of stories to share as well. Such an awesome saint. Have you ever seen the documentary on his life?
I believe he is a saint now!
A great book to read (biography of Saint Pio) by Ruffin!
Lots of facts and proof of his stigmata.
I feel the same.
I don’t know if the exhuming is a good or bad thing but I wish I had a chance to meet this great man while still alive; now, alas, prayers will have to do.
I love St. Padre Pio, and as a Catholic will pray to Saints, but that statement is one of the more bizarre I have encountered.
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