Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 11

EXTERIOR SCENE - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO RECTORY, OCTOBER 1920 - DAYTIME

San Giovanni Rotondo MAYOR FRANCESCO MORCALDI bursts into the rectory and runs towards 32 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO.

MAYOR FRANCESCO MORCALDI

Padre Pio! Padre Pio! What are we going to do?

32 year-old Padre Pio sits Mayor Francesco Morcaldi down and puts his hand on the Mayor's shoulder.

32 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Reconcile, my son. Reconcile. As Mayor you have to improve the living conditions of your citizens. There are still people in this town living in huts of mud. Give them a decent home and a greater voice in the running of their community. Provide free health care for the needy. Take good care of your charges and peace shall return.

MAYOR FRANCESCO MORCALDI

But I have to be careful. I'm walking a tightrope between the two sides. The whole town is saying that the Capuchins are raising money for the Fascists.

32 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Disregard baseless calumnies. I will work with you to open the hearts of the Godless Communists. Walk the middle path and Jesus will light your way and that of your town.

INTERIOR SCENE - VATICAN CONFERENCE OFFICE, APRIL 1922 - DAYTIME

CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL is sitting behind an ornate desk almost hidden by huge sheafs of papers and documents. He is obviously fatigued from ploughing through the papers and hearing animated charges and counter-charges around the clock for days from the assembled witnesses and dignitaries. ARCHBISHOP PASQUALE GAGLIARDI is testifying in front of the Cardinal's Commission.

ARCHBISHOP PASQUALE GAGLIARDI

Padre Pio is demon-possessed and the friars of San Giovanni Rotondo are a band of thieves who live in unspeakable luxury and pay journalists to invent stories of miracles. He collects money in the confessional which he uses to buy political influence!

(gasps from the group)

With my own eyes I saw Padre Pio perfume himself and put makeup on his face!

(more gasps)

And, he habitually sleeps in the friary's guest room where he is attended by young girls in all-night orgiastic scandals.

(holding up a letter)

I have here a letter from Canon Giovanni Miscio which confirms that Padre Pio has tuberculosis, epilepsy and venereal diseases. He also verifies that Padre Pio has daily sexual intercourse with both men and women, including children as young at 18 months, in his confessional booth!

Gasps and frantic whispering fill the room. BISHOP ALBERTO VALBONESI can stand no more of this slander against the friar. He springs to his feet.

BISHOP ALBERTO VALBONESI

This is nothing more than unspeakable cunning and malignity. Is it lawful to defame with impunity people who are far removed from suspicion? Padre Pio is a saintly man and far above these ridiculous accusations!

ARCHBISHOP PASQUALE GAGLIARDI

Ridiculous?

(holding up another letter)

Here is the statement by noted Doctor Gerardo Agostino Gemelli that Padre Pio has no wounds of any kind!

BISHOP ALBERTO VALBONESI

Doctor Gemelli never even examined Padre Pio! On the Cardinal's desk are the reports confirming the stigmata from some of the finest Doctors in Italy, Romanelli, Festa, Bignami, even Bastianelli who was the personal physician to Pope Benedict XV, God rest his soul!

CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL

Regardless, Bishop Valbonesi, the circus atmosphere at San Giovanni Rotondo must be curbed as it is distasteful to the Holy Mother Church. I have a direct responsibility to the Holy Father Pius XI to bring this situation under control. I will propose to His Holiness that he order Padre Pio henceforth will only celebrate Mass in an inner chapel with no congregation; all correspondence to Padre Pio shall be answered by friars of known sobriety and prudence; and that at the earliest opportunity, Padre Pio be transferred at least to Northern Italy, or better yet, Spain or America.

Mayor Francesco Morcaldi slams his hand on his desk.

MAYOR FRANCESCO MORCALDI

Padre Pio must never be taken from us! I will resign as Mayor and fight as an ordinary citizen in the riot that is bound to ensue! In order to take Padre Pio away you will have to trample on our dead bodies!

Continued In Part 12

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