Saint Pio (Pius) of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap. (May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968) was a Capuchin Catholic priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.

It is claimed that no more than Anecdotal evidence supports Pio’s alleged mystical abilities. Some of his bilocations are consistent with hallucinations and the supposed odor of sanctity was purported to be Eau de Cologne. He was never watched continually to ensure that chemicals like carbolic acid or iodine were not used to prevent wounds from healing, as has been claimed. Pio over many years wore fingerless gloves which concealed his wounds or prevented him having to tend to the wounds. Near his death Pio avoided covering his hands and there was no sign of injury.

The founder of Milan's Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, friar, physician and psychologist Agostino Gemelli, who met Padre Pio once, for a few minutes, but was unable to examine his stigmata, concluded Padre Pio was "an ignorant and self-mutilating psychopath who exploited people's credulity."[16] In short, he was accused of infractions against all three of his monastic vows: poverty, chastity and obedience.Agostino Gemelli also speculated that Padre Pio kept his wounds open with carbolic acid. As a result of the Gemelli assessment, the wounds were wrapped in cloth. According to believers, the bleeding continued for some 50 years until they closed within hours of his death.

On 29 July 1960, an Italian monsignore, Carlo Maccari, who later became the archbishop of Ancona, began yet another investigation on behalf of Pope John XXIII and the Holy Office. The 200-page report he compiled, though never published in full, is said to be devastatingly critical. Vatican gossip long had it that the “Maccari dossier” was an insuperable obstacle to Padre Pio’s sainthood. According to official Capuchin literature, however, Maccari later recanted and prayed to Padre Pio on his deathbed.

In 1940, Padre Pio began plans to open a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, to be named the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza or "Home to Relieve Suffering". The hospital opened in 1956. Barbara Ward, a British humanitarian and journalist on assignment in Italy, played a major role in obtaining for this project a grant of $325,000 from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). In order that Padre Pio might directly supervise this project, Pope Pius XII, in 1957 granted him dispensation from his vow of poverty. Padre Pio's detractors used this project as another weapon to attack him, charging him with misappropriation of funds.

Padre Pio was subject to numerous investigations. Fearing local riots, a plan to transfer Padre Pio to another friary was dropped and a second plan was aborted when a riot almost happened. In the period from 1924 to 1931 the Holy See made various statements denying that the happenings in the life of Padre Pio were due to any divine cause. At one point, he was prevented from publicly performing his priestly duties, such as hearing confessions and saying Mass.

By 1933, the tide began to turn, with Pope Pius XI ordering the Holy See to reverse its ban on Padre Pio’s public celebration of Mass. The Pope said, "I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed."In 1934, he was again allowed to hear confessions. He was also given honorary permission to preach despite never having taken the exam for the preaching licence. Pope Pius XII, who assumed the papacy in 1939, encouraged devotees to visit Padre Pio. According to a recent book, Pope John XXIII (1958–1963) apparently did not espouse the outlook of his predecessors, and wrote in 1960 of Padre Pio’s “immense deception." However, it was John XXIII's successor, Pope Paul VI, who, in the mid-1960s, firmly dismissed all accusations against Padre Pio.


My question is: Can anyone explain Pope Paul VI's arguments in favor of Padre Pio?

  • 1
    I've given the Wikipedia article the correct attribution, and tagged the question; but you need to decide which of the questions you want to stand. Explaining Paul VI would not appear to be possible from a non-Catholic perspective. Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 5:28
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    @AndrewLeach How does this have anything to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds)?
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 13:03
  • I would suggest pursuing sources other than Wikipedia for this
    – Greg Bala
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 13:44
  • @DanielCook (I wasn't pinged with your comment) I expect the answer is "Nothing", but that was the original tag and might have been relevant. Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


The article is incorrect on several points. For example it is true that Gemelli was critical of Padre Pio. It is also true that this was due to misunderstanding and from self inflated notions of his own importance in the Church. Gemelli evidence on the stigmata for example is fabricated and flies in the face of several medical physicians and properly adhered to as at least unexplainable if not of other than natural means. Gemelli did not really ever know Pio and his assumptions were based on views expressed by others such as Gagliardi whom disliked Pio for a variety of reasons that today or obscure as the Archbishop was so corrupt himself. The Stigmata lasted almost 50 years and show that notions of self inflicted ideas as simply absurd. Pio himself disliked it and it caused him great pain, physical and mental. Benedict 15 was a supporter of Pio whereas Pius 11 was swayed by men like Gemelli and Archbishop Gagliardi whom detested Pio but was himself later censored by the Church for improper behaviour. Pius 12 was a firm believer in Pio and John 23 was surrounded by men that held Pio in jealous eyes. Pope Paul 6 was a great believer in Pio and admired him very much. For this reason he fully backed Pio and supported him and accredited him on his death with true and heroic sanctity. John Paul 2 was also a great friend of Pio and would canonise him as Pio of Pietrelcina, Hope this all helps. Further reading on Pio will also add to knowledge in this matter.


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