Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age

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Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age

by Sergio Luzzatto
Translated by Frederika Randall

Picador | November 22, 2011 | Trade Paperback |

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The first historical appraisal of the astonishing life and times of a controversial twentieth-century saint

Padre Pio is one of the world''s most beloved holy figures, more popular in Italy than the Virgin Mary and even Jesus. His tomb is the most visited Catholic shrine anywhere, drawing more devotees than Lourdes. His miraculous feats included the ability to fly and to be present in two places at once; an apparition of Padre Pio in midair prevented Allied warplanes from dropping bombs on his hometown. Most notable of all were his stigmata, which provoke heated controversy to this day. Were they truly God-given? A psychosomatic response to extreme devotion? Or, perhaps, the self-inflicted wounds of a charlatan?

Now acclaimed historian Sergio Luzzatto offers a pioneering investigation of this remarkable man and his followers. Neither a worshipful hagiography nor a sensationalist exposé, Padre Pio is a nuanced examination of the persistence of mysticism in contemporary society and a striking analysis of the links between Catholicism and twentieth-century politics. Granted unprecedented access to the Vatican archives, Luzzatto has also unearthed a letter from Padre Pio himself in which the monk asks for a secret delivery of carbolic acid-a discovery which helps explain why two successive popes regarded Padre Pio as a fraud, until pressure from Pio-worshipping pilgrims forced the Vatican to change its views.

A profoundly original tale of wounds and wonder, salvation and swindle, Padre Pio explores what it really means to be a saint in our time.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: November 22, 2011

Publisher: Picador

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312611668

ISBN - 13: 9780312611668

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– More About This Product –

Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age

by Sergio Luzzatto
Translated by Frederika Randall

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.79 in

Published: November 22, 2011

Publisher: Picador

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312611668

ISBN - 13: 9780312611668

About the Book

"Originally published in Italy in 2007 by Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a, Turin"--T.p. verso.

Read from the Book

Prologue: September 20, 1918 For a Capuchin friar hidden away in the half-empty San Giovanni Rotondo monastery on the remote Gargano Peninsula in southern Italy, September 20, 1918, was a fateful day. Around nine that morning, while Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was praying before a crucifix in the monastery chapel, "a mysterious personage" materialized before him, a figure bleeding from his hands, his feet, and his side. Alarmed, the thirty-one-year-old priest begged for God''s assistance. The figure disappeared immediately, but Padre Pio''s alarm only grew when he saw that Jesus''s stigmata were now visible on his own body. "I look at my hands, feet and side and see they are wounded and blood is pouring out," he wrote to his spiritual adviser.1 "All my innards are bloody and my eye must resign itself to watch the blood gushing out," so much of it that "I fear I will bleed to death."2 Over the next ninety years, the minuscule Capuchin monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo would become a leading place of pilgrimage in Europe, as crowded with worshippers as Santiago, Lourdes, Fatima, or Medjugorje. Padre Pio would become the most venerated saint in twenty-first-century Italy, more popular than St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis of Assisi, more popular even than the Virgin Mary or Jesus of Nazareth.3 And questions about the meaning—if there was one—that the Lord intended to transmit to mankind with the friar''s five stigmata would trouble believers and nonbelievers alike.
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From the Publisher

The first historical appraisal of the astonishing life and times of a controversial twentieth-century saint

Padre Pio is one of the world''s most beloved holy figures, more popular in Italy than the Virgin Mary and even Jesus. His tomb is the most visited Catholic shrine anywhere, drawing more devotees than Lourdes. His miraculous feats included the ability to fly and to be present in two places at once; an apparition of Padre Pio in midair prevented Allied warplanes from dropping bombs on his hometown. Most notable of all were his stigmata, which provoke heated controversy to this day. Were they truly God-given? A psychosomatic response to extreme devotion? Or, perhaps, the self-inflicted wounds of a charlatan?

Now acclaimed historian Sergio Luzzatto offers a pioneering investigation of this remarkable man and his followers. Neither a worshipful hagiography nor a sensationalist exposé, Padre Pio is a nuanced examination of the persistence of mysticism in contemporary society and a striking analysis of the links between Catholicism and twentieth-century politics. Granted unprecedented access to the Vatican archives, Luzzatto has also unearthed a letter from Padre Pio himself in which the monk asks for a secret delivery of carbolic acid-a discovery which helps explain why two successive popes regarded Padre Pio as a fraud, until pressure from Pio-worshipping pilgrims forced the Vatican to change its views.

A profoundly original tale of wounds and wonder, salvation and swindle, Padre Pio explores what it really means to be a saint in our time.

About the Author

Sergio Luzzatto is the author of numerous books on French and Italian history, including The Body of Il Duce: Mussolini's Corpse and the Fortunes of Italy. He is a professor of modern history at the University of Turin, Italy, and a regular contributor to the leading Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the 2011 Cundill Prize in History   “The trajectory and significance of Pio’s life are described with remarkable skill by Luzzatto.… This translation of Sergio Luzzatto’s outstanding biography gives Anglophone readers the first opportunity to consult a serious account of the Padre Pio phenomenon, a study of the man and of his socio-political environment, based on comprehensive research by a skilled and subtle academic historian.” — Marco D’Eramo, New Left Review “Fascinating... Luzzatto is quite brilliant in explicating how the cult of Padre Pio reflected and refracted dynamics within Italian society and the Roman Catholic Church.” —Mathew N. Schmalz, Commonweal   “Luzzatto is nothing if not readable, and he introduces a vastly entertaining cast... His aim is a kind of phenomenology of what it means to invoke sainthood in a century of technological marvels, world wars, and mass culture.” —John Kappes, The Plain Dealer   “Sergio Luzzatto writes with verve, insight, and diligence... A lively and thorough study.” —John L. Murphy, PopMatters   “A solid exploration into the fine line between the faithful and the fraudulent in twentieth-century Catholicism.” — Kirkus Reviews   “Luzzatto’s book is masterful… The research is staggeringly deep and wide—embracing runs of archival arguments never before consulted and
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