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Padre Pio Under Investigation: The Secret Vatican Files Paperback – March 15, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Father Francesco Castelli is the historian for the Cause of Beatification of Pope John Paul II and a Professor of Modern Church History at the Romano Guardini Institute of Religious Sciences in Taranto, Italy. He is a contributor to many publications, and has recently discovered and published Karol Wojtyla's third letter to Padre Pio.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586174053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586174057
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Milton T. Walsh on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Padre Pio is a phenomenally popular saint, and sometimes in such cases hindsight paints an unreal picture. In this book we have the chance to read a report written in 1921, when the cult surrounding him was just beginning. What emerges from these pages is a fresh take on the holy man, who comes across as very modest and human, and frankly puzzled about both his spiritual gifts and the excitement surrounding him. The others interviewed are also frank about both the phenomena, whether or not they believe them, and the personality of Padre Pio. The bishop who conducted the investigation also comes across as very fair, knowledgeable, and not credulous. A book like this does more to prove the genuineness of Padre Pio and his stigmata than ten books that emphasize the wonders of his life.
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Format: Paperback
I liked this book because it gave me an in depth look into the life of St. Padre Pio, who is one of my favorite Saints. If Padre Pio's Canonization didn't put to rest the detractors concerning his supernatural gifts, then I believe this book will put them to rest because it contains an objective investigation and rigorous interrogations of Padre Pio and the entire religious community he lived in at the time. The final conclusion is that Padre Pio and his supernatural gifts of the stigmata, bilocation, reading of confessing hearts, bodily scent of violets, and him enduring body temperatures above 118 degrees Fahrenheit while continuing his daily labors are all legit. You will be inspired not only by these extraordinary gifts God gave him, but also by the great humility and obedience St. Padre Pio sincerely displayed throughout his life and religious ministry.

I didn't give this book 5 stars because I would've liked an even more objective analysis by the author. The author seemed to be completely convinced of Padre Pio's gifts well before the recently released information concerning the investigation and interrogations of the Saint and others were provided to the public by the Church (the book is largely based on this newly released material). I don't fault his faith, only his seemingly biased approach to the matter. The answers from the investigation and interrogations are convincing enough to any open minded and reasonably intelligent reader. And to me, the format of the book made some information appear repetitive, but all in all it is a good book that I believe is definitely worth your time and money.
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I am a Catholic and had heard of Padre Pio and seen pictures of him and the car he apparently drove and heard that he smoked. I didn't know much else about him other than that he had the stigmata, reports of bilocation (and levitation!), and that there was some controversy about him. I hadn't explored the details much but presumed there to be a lot of information around since he spent much of his life in the 20th century.
This book does not cover his entire life. It only recounts a hitherto undisclosed evaluation of Padre Pio by a man who eventually became a Cardinal and is on the path to Sainthood himself. The construction of the book and its story is inherently redundant. The author tells us what it says, then the investigator tells us what he thinks about everything he found out, and then everything he took down is presented. On the Kindle version there are a few typos, but it is otherwise very accessible and the footnote function works great.
The story itself is fascinating. Padre Pio comes out smelling like lilacs, or violets, or whatever he smelled like during his life. He is a simple man by all reports, humble and thoughtful, quiet and obedient. One of the interesting side notes is how much the hierarchy of the orders and the Church monitor and expect obedience. The descriptions of the stigmata are fascinating for me as a medical doctor. It is hard to imagine them as anything other than divine in origin.
This book gave a little boost to my faith at a time when I was struggling with all the crap about the Church hierarchy, monetary policies, sexual abuse, etc. To see that there are still those out there serving the Lord while being tested by Him was edifying. It doesn't take long to read and is worth the effort.
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Saint Padre Pio went through a lot of scrutiny before being declared a saint including his sincerity, holiness and medical examination of the stigmata (which he found a burden-as he only wanted to pray for others and set an example for others). This book covers the scrunity of this Blessed Saint during his earlier years using Vatican files through 1939 released by Pope Benedict. Those doubting Thomas's out there of any faith should read this and they will doubt no more! Those that tried to find reasons not to believe found to their amazement that yes the stigmata was not contrived. Many souls were converted by his saintly ways.
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The book does nothing to sensationalize any of the claims made about this humble and good man. He was not treated well by the Vatican for quite some time, and some of his own clerics brought up charges of womanizing against him—charges that were on the face of it absurd even, given Pio’s constant preoccupation with things above. The same goes for the absurdity of claims that he embezzled funds for the hospital he was building. So this book has to be read in the context of how his own Church treated him for a number of years, a treatment I personally find vile. The work is rather prosaic, at times repetitious, but its merit rests in keeping all claims about Padre Pios stigmata in bounds. The work is cautious in its assessment and for this reason deserves scholarly review by those who would dismiss reports of a stigmatized male as foolishness. Teresa Neumann is a similar example of having received the stigmata. Many claimed she was a fraud, but intense scrutiny of her condition brings one to the opposite conclusion. Pio and Neumann are certainly anomalies in this day and age. One will only be able to have certainty of Pio’s stigmata if one saw it in person. Alas, that is not to be. However, the book does attempt to give some of that “in person” touch, however the shortcomings death brings to such an approach. Pio was a rough man—one not given to nicety of expression. Nor was he demur. The pain he suffered from this stigmata may go far in explaining his frequent brusqueness. He lived a life of always being suspected and yet he was able to keep his faith and priesthood. That is enough to have him canonized, as he was.
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