“The stigmas of the monk are not only real, but are manifested in a balanced personality from both a psychological and spiritual point of view.”
Not everyone believed the stigmas of It seems Pio they were a gift from the Lord and there were many attempts to unmask his malice or even, for some, his diabolical suggestion.
Among these we remember the Father Agostino Gemelli, one of the most fervent opponents of the authenticity of the monk’s stigmas. On April 17, 1920, he rushed to S. Giovanni Rotondo and was immediately encouraged by strong prejudices both towards some extraordinary phenomena and towards this brother of his.
CPP | CIRIC
Pressure on Father Benedetto Nardella
He immediately tried to press directly and indirectly seems Benedetto Nardella, to allow him to “observe” Father Pius. Evidently, as he had no permission from the superiors of Rome, this was not possible, except for a fleeting meeting which lasted only a few minutes in the sacristy.
The relationship of Gemini: the original text
These minutes will be enough for Fr. Gemelli to draw up a very severe report on Father Pius and then send him to the Holy Office. The report read as follows:
“Introduced to converse with him, without realizing it, with innocent artifice, I subjected him to a psychiatric interrogation; there are no indications of those mental illnesses of religious content which might be adduced in the field, but Father Pius presents none of the characteristic elements of mystical life. Rather, he appears to be a man with a narrow field of consciousness, reduced psychic tension, abrupt motor ideation. An atmosphere of suggestion has been created in the convent around Father Pio, in which many of those who arrive feel attracted …
A father belonging to the same province, Fr. Benedetto Nardella, former provincial, who was the educator, counselor and protector of Father Pius himself, contributed with a tenacious and long-practiced activity in this work of suggestion, today he who it explains extraordinary facts that deserve to be subjected to control. On the whole, it seems to me that it is a case of suggestion produced unconsciously by Fr. Benet in a patient like Father Pio and which has given rise to those manifestations characteristic of psittacism proper to the hysterical structure. It is absolutely necessary to remove Father Pio for some time from the environment in which he finds himself.
The apostolic visitor
In all likelihood this report, coupled with the numerous rumors that continued to reach Rome about Father Pius, led the authorities to make the decision to send an apostolic visitor, with the intention of shedding light on the story of the stigmatized monk.
Monsignor Raffaello Carlo Rossi
The person chosen by the Holy Office for this task and who will take him to the Gargano from 14 to 20 June 1921, was Msgr. Raffaello Carlo Rossi. His research, without prejudice, firm and serene led him to make a final positive assessment of the stigmas of Father Pius, a judgment he would like to report in its highlights:
“The stigmata of the monk are not only real, but are manifested in a balanced personality from both a psychological and spiritual point of view. […] Pius has always been an excellent religious: everyone proclaims it in one voice, priests and confreres. […] It is exemplary, exercised in the practice of the virtues, given to piety and perhaps elevated in the degrees of prayer more than what appears on the outside, shining above all by a sincere humility and a singular simplicity which have never failed. nor in the most serious moments when these virtues they were subjected to a really serious and dangerous test for him“.
“They are not the work of the devil”
Still on the subject of stigmas, he rewrote:
“What I certainly think can be said today, in short, is that the stigmas in question and the examination are not the work of the devil, nor a gross deception, a fraud, an art of malice or evil. And this, if I am not mistaken, may be enough to reassure the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority in the face of the “case” of Father Pius of Pietrelcina. I want to add that his “stigmas” do not seem to me even a morbid product of external suggestion, although prudence may suggest some measures of observation and caution. ‘
Rigor and confidentiality
The aforementioned report on the stigmas of Father Pio will later be presented directly by Mons. Raffaello Carlo Rossi at the Holy Office in January 1922. From the report, everything suggests a benevolent reception by the ecclesiastical court, which suggested that they act with rigor and confidentiality.
A marked serenity
From that moment began a period of more than ten years for the stigmatized father, consisting of continuous prohibitions and restrictions. In this period, very painful not only for Father Pius, but also for the convent, the spiritual children and all the pilgrims who came to the doors of the convent, the Capuchin friar has always maintained a marked serenity, lived in humility, in abandonment to God and especially with respect to the superiors of the convent and the Romans, in which he saw the manifestation of the divine will.
“Fre” San Giovanni Rotondo
From here they will be a series of very forceful decisions that Rome will take to curb a reality that was growing more and more around the friar of San Giovanni Rotondo. The assessments of these ecclesiastical dispositions divide the faithful between those who with difficulty manage to see a mother church in this context and those who with faith see the intervention of the Holy Office. an attempt to safeguard the life of the monk invested with many supernatural gifts.
the “reward” of God
What is true and edifying is the fact that, in spite of everything and in spite of the closure of some high ecclesiastics in the work that the Lord erected around Father Pius, he remained in his place, prayed, abandoned totally to God, who after having tried it. with fire, he returned it to the people even more overflowing and shining with the divine presence.