No, we should not imitate ‘Padre Pio’

Pio of Pietrelcina


Today is the Roman Catholic feast day for one called ‘Padre Pio.’

Here is a report from the Catholic World Report:

September 23, 2023

Today the Church honors the memory of Francesco Forgione, born on 25 May 1887, better known as Padre Pio. He was recognized as an extraordinary confessor, reader of souls, and worker of miracles. Like many holy men and women in the history of the Church, he had a checkered relationship with ecclesiastical authorities, both within his Capuchin Order and in Rome. In the 1920s, his faculties to celebrate the sacraments publicly were revoked due to a variety of accusations made against him. The Holy See further declared that nothing divine could be found in his experiences. Only in 1933 did he see some light at the end of the tunnel as Pope Pius XI said that his actions against Pio were not because he was “badly disposed but badly informed.” Pius XII was rather favorable to him, while John XXIII was not. It was only Paul VI who dismissed all the allegations against him. …

Padre Pio died on 23 September 1968. … Of course, Padre Pio is most famous for being a stigmatist. … Needless to say, many people questioned the reality of those “wounds” of his.

A while back, the Catholic Herald reported the following:

Don’t just admire Padre Pio, imitate him, urges Pope

March 18, 2018

Many people admire Padre Pio, but too few imitate him, especially in his care for the weak, the sick and those who modern culture treats as disposable, Pope Francis said during Mass at the saint’s shrine.

“Many are ready to ‘like’ the page of the great saints, but who does what they do?” the Pope. …

Pope Francis began his day of tribute to St Pio with an early morning visit to Pietrelcina, where the Capuchin saint was born in 1887.

Thousands waited outside the square of the Chapel of the Stigmata which houses a piece of the elm tree Padre Pio sat in front of when he first received the stigmata – wounds on his feet, hands and side corresponding to those Jesus suffered at the Crucifixion – in September 1918. …

Standing in front of an image of a young Padre Pio bearing the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion in his hands, the Pope said that it was in Pietrelcina that the future saint “strengthened his own humanity, where he learned to pray and recognise in the poor the flesh of Christ.”

I have been familiar with this Roman Catholic ‘saint’ Pio for years. He is not one that Christians would want to imitate.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

We should imitate Christian leaders as they imitate Jesus.

Pio did not do that.

Here is some information about the famous stigmatic/stigmatist Pio Padre (birth name Francesco Forgione) from K. Woodward:

Padre Pio is…easily the most famous male stigmatic since St. Francis…the famous friar suffered more than the wounds in his body or bruises from the Devil. For example, there was a period in his life where Vatican officials suspected that Pio Padre’s stigmata were self-inflicted…

Archbishop Pasquale Gagliardi of Manfredonia… denounced him to the Vatican’s Holy Office. At various times, he was forbidden to say Mass, except privately, and to speak with women: at the age of seventy-three he was suspected, of all things, of taking sexual advantage of female penitents…

As late as 1960…Bishop Albino Lúciani of Vittorio Veneto, who later became Pope John Paul I, dismissed the ministry of Padre Pio as “an indigestible dainty” which caters to the “craving for the supernatural and the unusual.”…

The speaker was Father Paolo Rossi…Once more I was told that mystical experiences would play no part in determining sanctity. Though he may have wrestled with the Devil and spoken with angels, Padre Pio the stigmatic would be judged by more mundane trials…I was struck by the enormous discrepancy between the popular image of the mystic and the requirements of the saint-making process. (Woodward, KL. Making saints: how the Catholic Church determines who becomes a saint, who doesn’t, and why. Simon and Schuster, 1996, pp. 184-185, 186, 187, 189)

So, why would an accused womanizer and abuser of his ecclesiastical duties be honored by Pope Francis?

Possibly because of the following:

ROME, DEC. 7, 2012 ( Padre Pio said that ”The Madonna is the shortcut to get to God.”

There is no doubt that in order to see the face of Jesus, we must turn to His Mother, and it is to Her who we look to heal our diseases, to turn our tears into prayer.

Pope Francis is very ‘Mary’ oriented and wants to encourage many things related to his version of Marianism, even though this is in conflict with scripture. It is by Jesus’ stripes we are to be healed (Isaiah 53:5), not Mary. Jesus, not His mother Mary, is the one mediator. Here is something I previously wrote related to this mediator matter:

Mark Miravalle, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, wrote:

Let us pray daily for the solemn definition of Our Lady’s spiritual motherhood as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces, and advocate, which truly reveal the saving actions of motherly intercession which come forth from her Immaculate Heart, and thus to bring the Church and the world a giant step closer to the Fatima-prophesied “Era of Peace.”

Yet, there is nothing in scripture about Mary bringing in an era of peace or being our intercessor—the only intercessor listed in the Bible is Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)—the Bible says He is the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:5, DRB). The Bible shows that we are only to call upon the name of the Lord/God/Jesus (2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 10:12-13; Acts 26:20)—never Mary.

Although it is proper for Christians to state that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:48), it is blasphemous to insist that she was sinless (cf. Romans 3:23) and that one must turn to Mary in order to see Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

There is nothing in the Bible, or even in early church writings, that supports the view that December 8th is to be a festival for some type of ‘immaculate conception’ of Mary. Those who are willing to believe what the Bible teaches, as well as truly connect-the-dots related to early church history, will realize that. Sadly, however, multiple millions are not willing to do so.

The Apostle Paul did not observe such a commemoration.

It has been my contention for several years, after searching the scriptures and studying history, that one or more apparitions believed to be Jesus’ mother ‘Mary’ will be seen by the general public.

Will not many be deceived by this? The Bible is clear that massive deception is coming (Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)–and this could well include ‘stigmatists.’

Pope Francis has been encouraging Marian devotion through his words and actions. Increased acceptance of non-biblical views of Mary are affecting people.

Now, some believe that by being a stigmatic, that this proves that God marked Pio as a saint. But that is not the case.

Here is more information from my book Fatima Shock!:

Possession of Stigmata is Not Proof of Sainthood

Does having the wounds that allegedly mimic the wounds of Jesus Christ prove that one is a Roman Catholic saint?


As of about 1996, it was reported there had been 325 stigmatics since Catholic saint Francis (who is considered to have been the first) and only 62 canonized ( Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, p. 216). There have been more canonized since, but the fact that many have not been, should give Catholics some pause here.

One of my shocks in researching this book came when I read the following statements from a Catholic investigator (officially called a consultor), Priest John Lozano, of possible sainthoods:

We know that mystics that have the stigmata copy the crucifixes that they see. If the wounds of the crucifix are on the wrong place, they will appear that way on the body. Similarly, if they have seen Mary dressed in red and blue, as she appears in statues in Catalonia, rather than the standard blue and white that is the way she will be dressed in their visions (Woodward KL. Making saints: how the Catholic Church determines who becomes a saint, who doesn’t, and why. Simon and Schuster, 1996, p. 164).

This is disturbing on many levels. The above investigator referred to these as “fantasies” yet seemed to think some with such “fantasies” were valid saints. But, if the stigmatics are having signs in different parts of their hands, etc. this should demonstrate to anyone who wants to consider that they simply are not actually imitating Jesus. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). And if many stigmatics are not considered to be Catholic saints, then shouldn’t Catholics consider that these manifestations either are somehow self-induced and/or from the devil when not due to chemical or natural causes?

When asked how to distinguish between valid religious/spiritual experiences and psychological trauma, Priest John Lozano responded with:

…religious ecstasy and psychological trauma are similar…behind the ecstasy there is an experience of God, whereas behind the trauma there is not. In trauma, the person cannot recall what happened during the trance state, whereas the ecstatic person is extremely active and alert although the body falls into some kind of lethargy (Woodward, p. 178).

It should also be mentioned that various Muslims have had versions of stigmata. “Cases are also known of Muslim stigmatics who bear wounds that correspond to those known to have been suffered by Muhammed (c. 570 C.E.–632 C.E.) while doing battle” ( There are also some claimed Hindu stigmatics. This is NOT a sign from God. It is also not something mentioned in the New Testament.

It perhaps should also be mentioned that Pio is considered to be somewhat of an ‘incorruptible.’ That is, his body did not decay quickly after he died. Here is more information from my book Fatima Shock!:

“Incorruptibility” has sometimes been interpreted as God’s favor on certain individuals, though the Church of Rome does not actually view it that way (Quigley C. Modern Mummies: The Preservation of the Human Body in the Twentieth Century. McFarland, 2006, p.195; Cruz JC. The Incorruptibles. Nihil Obstat: HC Bezou, November 11, 1974. Imprimatur + PM Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, November 19, 194. TAN Books, 1977, p. 40). …

Although on the internet it has been claimed “for each incorrupt body discovered, after research has been done to determine who the person was, it has always been determined that the person was an extremely devout Catholic”(Incorruptibles. viewed 12/03/10), that claim is in error. This type of “incorruptibility” has happened to others who were not Catholic, as well as Catholics who were not devout.

Notice the following accounts:

Inside the crypt was the body of one of these Hindu saints, completely incorrupt, completely intact…Opening the other five crypts, the remaining Hindu saints were found in similar fashion. (Hughes M. The Mysteries of the Redemption: A Treatise on Out-of- Body Travel and Mysticism., 2004, p. 374)

Not all incorruptible are Roman Catholics. Some are not even Christians… Secular incorruptibles may be found worldwide. (Quigley, pp. 203, 211-215)

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama also is believed to be an “incorruptible”(Quigley, p. 205). Also, since it appears that only a fraction of Catholic “incorruptibles” have been made saints, the idea that all such incorruptibles were “devout” Catholics seems not to be the case.

Since this is not a phenomena restricted to devout members of any particular faith, and many believe that this phenomena is supernatural, then it would seem that the “supernatural power” that would make this happen would not need to be God of the Bible.

At least one who was baptized as Catholic has claimed that how such “incorruptible” have been preserved “is of Satanic origin” (Balima G. Satanic Christianity and the Creation of the Seventh Day: Controversy Surrounding Christianity and the Origins of the Human Race. Dorrance Publishing, 2008, p. 56). Others have noted that there are at least sixteen Japanese Buddhist priests that were preserved “incorruptible” by taking certain somewhat toxic substances while they were alive in order to essentially mummify them upon death (Haslam G (Oniko). Buddhist Mummies of Japan. http://sonic. net/~anomaly/japan/dbuddha.htm viewed 12/03/10). There is a Japanese, non- Catholic, non-Christian, “incorruptible” priest named Bukkai Shōnin who died in 1903 and is on display sitting up in Japan to this day (Quigley, p. 203). Some suspect he may have made himself “incorruptible” or that it was done by some type of spirit.

In the case of many of the allegedly “devout Catholic” incorruptibles, I would suspect that they did not do this to themselves prior to dying (in the case of Jacinta, for example, the idea that she could have done this is unreasonable, nor is it likely that any hospital staff would have done this to her). Yet, my reading of what seems to be the most popular Catholic book on the subject, The Incorruptibles, shows that even many of the “incorruptible saints” suffered deterioration/destruction (Cruz, pp. 68, 71, 73, 86-87, 90-91,93-94, 108, 110, 112, 116, 117, 124, 132, 148, 153, 157, 160, 162, 163, 170, 176, 181, 185, 189, 196, 203, 207, 214, 222, 229, 231, 234, 238, 241, 243, 249, 253, 260, 263, 266, 271, 297) or at least discoloration/dryness (Cruz, pp. 74-75, 144, 146, 151, 165, 183, 189, 201, 218, 289, 292). Some others were artificially preserved (Cruz, pp. 68, 193, 214, 253), while others clearly violated scripture living in a manner indicating that they were not biblically pious (e.g. Cruz, pp. 43, 49, 95, 109, 127).

And while the writer of that Incorruptibles book frequently points to the fact that many of them wore a coarse “hair shirt” as proof of their piety, the Bible teaches that the time is coming that “the prophets will all be ashamed to relate their visions when they prophesy and no longer put on their hair cloaks with intent to deceive” (Zechariah 13:4. NJB).

Notice the following claims from J. Clark on Catholic sainthood practices involving incorruptibles:

In the 20th century, the Catholic Church discontinued the practice of using incorruptibility as a prerequisite for sainthood. The Church wasn’t responding so much to the fraud of some cases, but to the cases in which incorruptible corpses didn’t extol Catholic piety. Members of other religions have been discovered in uncorrupted states. (Clark J. How can a corpse be incorruptible? http://people. viewed 12/04/10)

While I am not certain that the Church of Rome ever absolutely required incorruptibility as a prerequisite proof of sainthood, it is a fact that the piety of the incorruptibles should be called into question. Additionally, the reality is that there were many recognized second century saints who were never found as incorruptible, hence “incorruptibility” is certainly no criteria for sainthood.

To take this a step further, the New Testament is clear that all Christians, and not just those who do miracles or something like that, are saints. The Apostle Paul addressed many of his letters to “the saints” in each of the major areas he wrote to (cf. Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2), which suggested that there were many. And furthermore, unlike the so-called incorruptibles, all the saints the Apostle Paul wrote to were still living.

Concerning physical incorruptibility, the New Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967 stated, “Many cases could possibly have a natural explanation or be caused by diabolical power” (Aumann J. Mystical Phenomena. New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967, p. 177).

The word diabolical comes from the word devil. The word devil, in Portuguese, for example is diabo. Hence, incorruptibility is recognized by at least some of the Catholic clergy as possibly being from the devil.

Now the Bible does discuss a concept of the dead becoming incorruptible:

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it shall rise in incorruption… 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God: neither shall corruption possess incorruption… 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:42, 50, 52-53, DRB)

Please carefully notice that the dead start off in corruptible bodies but end up with incorruptible ones after the resurrection from the dead. Since all the bodies of the so-called incorruptibles (Catholic and otherwise) are all dead, they are not “incorruptible” in the biblical sense. Although the Bible prophecies that Jesus’ flesh would not see corruption (Psalm 16:10) and that was fulfilled (Acts 2:31), there is nothing in the Bible that suggests that any other than Jesus were “incorruptible” or that God would use that as a sign of His devout servants. In fact sacred scripture seems to teach the opposite (1 Corinthians 15:42, 50).

Pope Pius X is another of the so-called “incorruptibles,” yet in 1903 he proclaimed, “the Son of Perdition of whom the Apostles speak, is already among us” (Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, p. 216). But since that individual would likely be dead by now, it appears that the pontiff was in error.

The Bible specifically warns about a lady that uses witchcraft and spells (Isaiah 47:9 NJB)—could this be what has caused many of the “incorruptibles” and perhaps explains why most later suffered deterioration?

There are many signs and ‘proofs’ that are not from the Bible. Pio was NOT a true saint.

Throughout history signs and lying wonders have been factors in getting people to accept non-biblical religion.

Notice also the following end time prophecy:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

It remains my position that it is very likely that apparitions that people will claim will be Mary, the mother of Jesus, will be part of the signs and lying wonders that are mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Matthew 24:24–and that is consistent with prophecies found in Isaiah 47; Nahum 3:4-5, and Revelation 18:7-8). Signs like stigmata and ‘incorruptibility’ may be involved as well.

The current Marian-focused Pope Francis, as well as somewhat like-minded bishops, will likely be a factor in encouraging more of this.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to two YouTube videos Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy and Another ‘Mary’ that is Contrary to the Bible.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future?
Mystery of Civilization Why is civilization like it is? How will it end? What will replace it?Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Mystery of Civilization and How it Will End.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.

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