What does science say about Padre Pio’s stigmata?

Among the first to take an interest in the case were father Agostino Gemelli and then the former Holy Office, in 1921 (www.uccronline.it). As is well known, Father Gemelli had scientific reservations about the stigmata. However, he did not claim at all that they were “inauthentic”. In a letter to the alderman of the former Holy Office, Monsignor Nicola Canaliwritten on August 16, 1933, he explained that he had never published anything about Padre Pio and complained that he had not been misunderstood.

In 1924, speaking of stigmata, he wrote: “The stigmata of St. Francis not only present a destructive fact, as in all the others, but also a constructive fact […]. This is an absolutely inexplicable fact of science, while the destructive stigmata can be explained by biopsychic processes.“.

In 2007 also the anticlerical historian Sergio Luzzato he expressed doubts about the supernatural origin of Padre Pio’s stigmata. And he cited the 1919 testimony of a pharmacist, Dr. Valentini Vistaand of the cousin Maria De Vito. To their Padre Pio he would have ordered thecarbolic acid (to disinfect the syringes with which he gave injections to novices) and of the veratrine (to combine it with tobacco), substances suitable for causing lacerations in the skin similar to stigmata.

screenshot from salutepiu.blogspot.com
Phoenic acid.

The “great accuser” of Padre Pio

The theses of Luzzatto, the main “accuser” of the veracity of the stigmata, have been refuted by various scholars as Father Carmelo Pellegrinomember of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, father Luciano Lottibiographer of the saint of Pietrelcina, and especially journalists Andrea Tornielli And Saverio Gaeta.

The latter, after having consulted the documents of the canonical process, demonstrated the unreliability of the two testimonies. Which had been produced by the archbishop of Manfredonia, Pasquale Gagliardi, archenemy of Padre Pio. Gargliardi supported a real smear campaign against the Capuchin from 1920 to 1930, until he was invited to renounce the leadership of the diocese for his questionable conduct and for having shown the groundlessness of his serious accusations (F. Castelli, “Padre Pio under investigation”, Ares 2008).

Because they are not dependent on carbolic acid

Moreover, those of Padre Pio were not wounds or lesions of the tissues – as they should have been if obtained with carbolic acid – but blood exudations.

All the doctors who visited him testify to this. Dr. Giorgio Festa he examined the stigmata on October 28, 1919. “They are not the product of a trauma of external origin – ruled the doctor. nor are they due to the application of strongly irritating chemicals “(S. Gaeta, A. Tornielli, “Padre Pio, the last suspicion: the truth about the friar of the stigmata”, Piemme 2008).

It was a continuous, constant, notable exudation, only in precise points and with clear margins, which moreover did not give rise to inflammation (inflammation) or suppuration.


Because I’m not an external trauma

It should be added that never, in any case, the carbolic acid could have caused and maintained the deep injuries of the friar, finding the depth, like a hole that passed through hands and feet, covered only by a membrane of skin and blood scabs.

As proof, we read some authoritative texts of our days. The vademecum Martindale states that ‘severe or fatal poisoning can occur from the absorption of phenol through the skin or wounds [e] solutions containing phenol should not be applied to large areas of skin or large wounds as enough phenol can be absorbed to cause toxic symptoms. ‘

While the Handbook Undesirable effects from drugs clarifies that carbolic acid “in the skin can cause superficial coagulative necrosis”, that is, it does not favor but blocks blood bleeding. No doubt: the continued use of carbolic acid on the skin, even if only for a few months, would have caused irreparable and very evident damage (let alone for fifty years!) (Totustuus.it, May 2013).

Why does not hold the hypothesis glazed

On the use of the showcase (iron oxide) – Padre Pio requested 4 grams from the pharmacist Vista) – the friar was questioned by the apostolic visitor Carlo Raffaello Rossi – sent to San Giovanni Rotondo by the Holy Office on 15 June 1921. “I asked for it, without even knowing its effect – replied Padre Pio – because the father Ignazio, Secretary of the Convent, once he gave me a small amount of said powder to put it in tobacco. And so I looked for her mostly for a recreation. In order to offer the Brothers tobacco which with a small dose of this powder becomes such as to immediately excite one to sneeze ».


scrrenshot from www.grattavetro.it
Stained glass.

Irritating dust

Luzzatto criticized the justification. Yet as Gaeta and Tornielli always explain,it was enough to consult the volume Medicamenta. Theoretical-practical guide for healthcare professionals, a kind of “bible” for pharmacists. That already in the 1914 edition he explains: «The shop window is a dust […] very irritating to the mucous membranes and sneezing. […] White, light powder that irritates the conjunctiva and violently excites the sneeze. […] Sniffing causes sneezing, tearing and nasal catarrh, often also coughing ».


The key testimony

In essence, the glass was something similar to those itchy and sneezing powders, still used by the boys of the seventies at Carnival. And that Luzzatto has “smelled” the truth, but pretended nothing happened, is documented by his absence in his book of testimony under oath of father Ignazio da Jelsi, always before Bishop Rossi. «A pharmacist – Father Ignazio said – gave me a gram and I kept it. One evening, joking with the brothers, I tried to see what effect it produces by approaching it to the nose. Padre Pio also took some and had to go to his cell because he didn’t stop sneezing ».

The scent of the stigmata

Then there is the whole aspect of the very strong perfume given off by coagulated blood, adds the aforementioned dossier by uccronline.it. A smell noted by doctors and anyone who examined the stigmata. A discontinuous and not constant perfume, unlike those who make great use of perfumes.

03- padrepiopietrelcina dot com


“There is no scientific explanation”

In 2009, on the occasion of a conference in San Giovanni Rotondo, the professedr Ezio Fulcheri, professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Genoa and of Paleopathology at the University of Turin, declared that he had examined at length the photographic material and documents on the stigmata of Padre Pio. And he concluded thus: «But which acids, which tricks. Let’s face it once and for all, clearing the field of any misunderstanding and suspicion: the stigmata of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina are scientifically inexplicable. And even if, by hypothesis, if it were produced voluntarily, by hammering a nail into the hand and piercing it, current science would not be able to explain how those deep wounds remained open and bleeding for 50 years.“.


“Types of unexplained wounds”

He then continued: «I note that in the case of Padre Pio we were still in a pre-antibiotic era. And therefore the possibility of avoiding infections was even more remote than today. I cannot imagine what substances allow the wounds to be kept open for fifty years. The more we study the anatomy and pathophysiology of the lesions, the more we realize that a wound cannot remain open as it happened instead for the stigmata of Padre Pio, without complications, without consequences for the muscles, nerves, tendons. . The fingers of the stigmatized friar were always tapered, pink and clean: with wounds that pierced the palm and protruded on the back of the hand, he should have had swollen, swollen, red fingers, and with an important functional impotence. For Padre Pio, however, the evidence contrasts with the presentation and evolution of such a large wound, whatever the initial cause was. This is what science says ».


What does science say about Padre Pio’s stigmata?