The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata

Answering the carbolic acid accusations



Published in the June 2012 issue of Catholic Family News

also in The Voice of Padre Pio, Sept-Oct. 2012, published by his Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy



      by Frank M. Rega


When Canada’s McGill University conferred its $75,000 "Cundill Prize in History" to a book about Padre Pio (1),  the Montreal Gazette reported on Nov. 15, 2011 that the book raised the possibility that the saint used carbolic acid to self-inflict the wounds of his stigmata (2).  The carbolic acid canard was quickly seized by the press. The next day The Telegraph of Britain announced that "Italy's Padre Pio used carbolic acid to cause bleeding wounds on his hands that he claimed were replicas of Christ's, according to a new book." (3)  The Huffington Post reported that the book suggests that "Italian saint Padre Pio reportedly used carbolic acid on his hands, feet and sides to ‘self-inflict’ the wounds…" (4)

     A large spate of articles soon followed both in print and online, which cast doubt upon the authenticity of Padre Pio's stigmata. Even Catholic websites parroted the claim. The faith of many Catholics in the canonization process as well as in the sanctity of Padre Pio was shaken.

     Of course it was also convenient fodder for opponents of the traditional Church, especially critics of her veneration of the saints (5).  Concerned about possible distortions, British editor and columnist Damian Thompson wrote: "What bothers me about the claims about Pio – which I haven't studied closely enough to evaluate – is that they will be used by the secular world and its Catholic allies to pour scorn on the peasant and working-class devotions that Vatican II ideologues tried to eradica








Read the complete article in the above book, available in print or Kindle format.


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Frank Rega is the author of:  Padre Pio and America,
St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims,

The Greatest Catholic President: Garcia Moreno of Ecuador
  Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta 

 The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata and Other Wonders of the Saint

Vatican II, Evolution, and Medjugorje: Hubris, Heresy, and Mystery - coming soon

Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta - volume 3 in preparation


This page was last updated on 01/29/14