Skip to comments.CASES OF STIGMATA - Fact or Fiction?
Posted on 08/27/2003 2:06:11 AM PDT by Front 242
I have a question that has been nagging me for quite some time now concerning people throughout history bearing the stigmatic wounds of Christ. I am a firm believer that the Shroud of Turin is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, and based upon that belief, I pose the following observations for discussion and feedback.
Concerning the location of the five wounds as shown on the Shroud of Turin, with regard to the placement of the nails (through the carpal bones in each wrist at what is anatomically known as "the open mesocarpal space of Destot"), why is it that so many alleged stigmatists have "wounds" located in the center of their palms? In the case of Padre Pio, why were his wounds in the center of his palms? Were they possibly self inflicted as many sceptics have expressed throughout the years? If not, then why would they be located in the palms and not through the wrists as depicted on the Shroud? An observer would think that for someone to have the wounds of Christ, they would be exactly located on their body as they were inflicted on Christ's body. Also, I remember reading a book entitled "Padre Pio - The Stigmatist" by Fr. Charles Carty (available through TAN Books) in which a medical doctor who was to perform an operation on Padre Pio (for a medical condition which I fail to remember ... it may have been a case of hernia), the doctor placed Padre Pio under local anesthetic much to the protest of Padre Pio who wanted to undergo the operation without it. Apparently while unconscious, the doctor studied Padre Pio's wounds in his hands, feet, and side. The doctor found that Padre Pio's side wound was located on the LEFT SIDE of the chest in between the ribs below the heart in the form of an inverted cross about the size of a standard crucifix as found on a typical Rosary. As is depicted on the Shroud of Turin, the side wound of Christ is shown on the RIGHT SIDE of His chest from where the lance pierced His side. Why would Padre Pio's wound be in the form of an inverted cross and located on the left side of his chest according to the doctor's observation?
In trying to analyze this myself and determine possible scenarios and conclusions, it would seem that if Padre Pio were right handed, it would be plausible for him to either scratch with a sharp instument or heat up a small metal crucifix (perhaps on the end a Rosary) either over an open flame or dipped in some form of caustic solution with his right hand and then place it there on his left side to create a wound (as in the case of branding). The wound then could be continually reopened or reinflicted as needed with an easily obtainable source (i.e. the metal crucifix heated over an open flame such as a candle). Why then would he have this wound on his left side in the shape of an inverted cross? One of the ideas that has crossed my mind is that it would almost serve as a constant reminder to him of the cross on which Christ was crucified whereby that in looking down upon it daily from his vantage point (by nodding his head downward), it would appear as a normal depiction of an upright Roman crucifix, but to others (who were not meant to see it) it would appear inverted from the standpoint if you viewed Padre Pio chest while directly in front of him. A puzzling question indeed and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, one that has bothered me for some time. Please do not feel that I am trying to tarnish Padre Pio's image in any way, it is just that I am trying to discern some type of plausible explination about the cause for his stigmata. Granted, this very much may be a case of Divine Intervention in which God chose Padre Pio in which to call the faithful to ponder the wounds of Christ and His Passion, but I don't understand why He would allow the wounds to be inaccurately depicted on someone with regard to comparing them to the wounds shown on the Shroud of Turin. That is to say that I am using the Shroud of Turin as a touchstone for all other possible cases of stigmatic wounds. On a side note here, I firmly believe that the wounds of St. Francis of Assisi were indeed genuine based upon, to my knowledge (in which I may be inaccurate here), no one up until the time of St. Francis had been blessed with the Stigmata other than Jesus Christ Himself. Please correct me if I am indeed wrong.
Also, what is one to make of the so-called stigmatic priest from Croatia by the name of Fr. Zlatko Sudac (pronounced "sue-dots")? It has been alleged in some circles (mainly those in favor of the apparitions in Medjugorje), that Fr. Sudac bears all five wounds of Christ in addition to a small blood-red crucifix "wound" located just above the middle of his eyebrows in the center of his forehead. Needless to say, this wound has never been heard of or seen in cases of alleged stigmata. In the few pictures that I have seen of Fr. Sudac's forehead wound, I have noticed that the length of the vertical line of the crucifix has in some depictions (most notably at the very bottom of the vertical portion of the crucifix located just about a quarter of an inch above his eyebrows), varied ever so slightly in that sometimes it is longer and at other times it is shorter. I have never heard of a wound that could modify itself in length or form unless it either were self-inflicted or manipulated into not healing correctly. With regard to Fr. Sudac's alleged hand wounds, it is said that his wounds are located in the wrist area. However, in all pictures that I have seen of him, no indication of any wound or mark is located on the wrist or hand area. Once again, is this a possible deception, and if so, what are we indeed looking at with regard to Fr. Sudac's motives? Thanks for your time everyone and I look forward to your feedback. Sincerely, Front 242
Is this not a more reasonable explanation of the verse than imagining the marks were stigmata?
No. Why would Paul refer to random lumps and bruises as "the marks of the Lord Jesus"? How would such traumas be "marks" of the Lord?
Because the stigmatics didn't know any better. They received the wounds they would recognize as authentic, based upon Crucifixes and other works of art.
Spare me. I meant no disrespect. "Random" indicates that they make no pattern, like stigmata do.
Which was my point, that stigmata are "the marks of the Lord Jesus" in a significant (literally) way that random marks are not.
But you are right that it is impossible to know exactly what is meant just from this passage. We require a tradition in order to understand. It could mean stigmata or not.
No, this is a big stretch. Are you aware of any RCC teaching which shows Paul with stigmata? It certainly is the first time I have heard of it.
Why, there is only One Source of Tradition. ;-)
Honestly, I believe that some saints have been given sitgmata. I think it's a real thing and not fraud or the devil.
That a great saint like Paul may have been gifted is not out of the realm of possibility and this seems to support that. But I am not certain if this is so or not.
Superstition? I don't think I like that word. It may be unsubstantiated by formal Scripture, but that doesn't mean it is superstition.
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