Saturday, April 26, 2008

Celebrating Crazy [Padre Pio]

So, a bunch of Catholics have exhumed the rotting corpse of St. Padre Pio and are parading him around, worshiping him, and bilking money from the poor suffering who hope for a few minor, posthumous miracles.

His face is so badly decomposed that it has been "reconstructed with a lifelike silicone mask."

I know what you're thinking. Aren't the bodies of saints supposed to be incorruptible? And doesn't all this worshiping sound suspiciously close to that terrible sin of idolatry?

Well, rest assured, there are no conflicts of faith here. Sure, Pope John XXIII believed Padre Pio was a fraud who had 'incorrect' relations with women and sure, there's some evidence, though tenuous, that suggests he used carbolic acid to fake his famous stigmata wounds.

But see, Pope John Paul II was persuaded to bestow sainthood on Padre Pio. And since the Pope is infallible, Padre Pio is therefore worthy of sainthood. Case closed. Logic and reason triumph!



que rediculo! said...

My favorite quote from the article:

"Even if they had to re-do the face, its better remembering him this way than looking at a slab of cold marble," said Domenico Masone, deputy mayor of Pietralcina, the town where Padre Pio was born.

ok so from now on instead of building statues to honor people, let's just exhume their bodies, pump em full of silicone and parade them around town.

actually, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. somebody should go unearth the corpse of Colonel Sanders. Last time I was at a KFC I bumped my head while trying to embrace his statue thus chipping my tooth.

rab said...

Actually, not all the bodies of saints have been incorruptible. God chooses to remind us of His Presence, with those saints he chooses. Just as in life, he gives them individual charisms, and not all of His Saints has shared the exact same gifts (as you, God's child, are unique and have your own charisms--albeit natural or even supernatural). All of God's gifts are given, through Him, and we choose whether to cooperate with God's will or not.

You're wrong to assume, and state, that ALL saints are incorruptible. There are more Saints who are corruptible, than incorruptible, by number.

Saints are not separated from the Body of Christ in death, and they are honored (as our fathers and mothers are honored) given the fact that they are glorified in Christ, and are the greatest of human role models (in that His perfection is mirrored in their obedience and holiness).

I do not know the details of the exhumation, but, regardless of whether he was incorruptible or not, he led a very holy life. And whether you are do not believe in his particular charisms (he had many supernatural ones, including the stigmata) certainly would be remiss to challenge his holiness. God is Glorious in His Saints. They are a beatiful reflection of His perfection. If you can't see the face of Christ (even if it's a decaying one) in a Saint such as Padre Pio--then I fear you have a very hardened heart indeed.

The early Christians, in fact, were not squeamish about collecting the bones and relics of martyrs and saints--because they recognized that God is Incarnate, and that He can choose to employ the use of physical things to convey grace and to bolster faith.

The face of Christ can be recognized, in His Saints, whether decayed, reconstructed, or not. That is why there is nothing wrong in 'parading'--in giving witness to the presence of Jesus, in the world, and most tangibly, in His own, beloved Saints.

Jay said...

Sorry if it seems remiss, but I do challenge his holiness. (Unless you mean holey-ness, in which case, the deteriorating state of his carcass has probably left some holes.) For the record, I don't think any saints are incorruptible. Also, I'm not sure how you can declare Padre Pio "led a very holy life" so confidently when there are reasonable suspicions of inappropriate relationships with women and evidence of faked stigmata wounds.

Maybe there is nothing wrong in parading dead bodies around and bilking money from the poor, suffering and gullible, but there is something undeniably gruesome about the scene. And using masks to cover up the incongruities in faith claims seems transparently dishonest and desperate.

rab said...

Wikipedia notes the following:

Nature of the charges
They brought several accusations against him, including insanity, immoral attitude towards women - claims that he had intercourse with women in the confessional; misuse of funds, and deception - claims that the stigmata were induced with acid in order to gain fame, and that the reported odor of sanctity around him being the result of self-administered eau-de-cologne.[16]

The founder of Rome's Catholic university hospital 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.[15]

In 1923, he was forbidden to teach teenage boys in the school attached to the monastery because he was considered "a noxious Socrates, capable of perverting the fragile lives and souls of boys

Such notoriety often leads to attacks, even within the Church itself. Accusations are not always true, even if one desires them to be. They certainly don't indicate proof of anything other than 'suspicion'. Some people are disbelievers (like yourself), some are envious, some others are angry individuals, which leads to mockery, and malice.

You seem to be happy in your disbelief, and present yourself very mockingly and as the tone of your the use of words, and images. That's unfortunate for you.

What have you against Padre Pio, specifically?
Either he is a saint, or he is a demon. I choose to believe that he is a saint who underwent suffering, in union with Christ. And, perhaps you should be reminded that Jesus was mocked, humiliated, and under seige from all sorts of 'suspicions' and 'allegations of wrongdoing'). He was always, in the mind of angry people, doing something wrong (hanging out with sinners, eating at their tables, helping prostitutes). Even those of his own home town doubted him and mocked him.

Perhaps it's possible that Padre Pio is a saint, and that you are wrong. Either way, I can't understand why you hold such hostility. Perhaps it's you who have been deceived, by your own hardened heart.

What good are you doing, with your blogging comments anyhow? Are you, with a loving and charitable heart, trying to keep christians from deception? Or, perhaps, unknowingly, are you actually working against God and trying to destroy faith?

It would seem that your blog doesn't give much effort in anything but having fun by making fun. Where's your proof that Padre Pio is a fake....other than in those accusations of others that you never knew either? I guess you'd rather base your doubts on the suspicions of others than in the the fact that saints exist and are in heaven (that some achieve such holiness, in their daily lives, before death).

Christ, our Hope, has given us saints to keep reminding us, still on earth, that heaven is ours, and that we must strive toward the goal....that we are all called to sainthood.

Jay said...

"Either he is a saint, or he is a demon."

You forget one other option. He is just a man. And that is my position.

"What good are you doing, with your blogging comments anyhow? Are you, with a loving and charitable heart, trying to keep christians from deception?"

I like that answer. I'll take that one. Although, I'd say like most bloggers, I'm just writing about my interests and taking the piss. Honestly, you must admit to yourself, the exploitation of Padre Pio would seem morbid and silly to an unbeliever. And it does.

"Where's your proof that Padre Pio is a fake?"

Setting aside the fact that we have the embalmed and supposedly incorruptible body of a saint that is in fact corrupted, I think you miss the thrust of my argument. There isn't going to be an all-encompassing "proof" of his authenticity, but there is evidence, like the presence of carbolic acid, the decaying body, and the accusations of immediate clergymen, which suggest fakery. The fact that the evidence weighs to one side, however slightly, means that it is unreasonable to make positive faith claims about his holiness or to act with any confidence in that regard.

We call that healthy skepticism, a virtue that, for some strange reason, seems altogether absent in so many religious practitioners.