Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 14

EXTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA CAFE, JUNE 1933 - DAYTIME

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE Forgione is sitting at the outdoor cafe table beside CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

So, Michele. I take it you have read the manuscript and shown it to your father Zi 'Razio?

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

(throwing a thick manuscript onto the table)

This is not worthy to be called a manuscript. It is nothing more than scandalous lies from hell written by a bitter old Communist. You never forgave Francesco for not becoming the scapegoat when your nephew got his fiancee's sister pregnant. My brother could never even imagine the things you say he does in this book! He wouldn't even know what they are!

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

The publishers in Rome obviously don't think so, as they have already paid me a very generous advance.

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

There are laws in Italy for slander and libel, Don Giovanni. I can assure you that on behalf of my brother I will enlist the assistance of the finest lawyers in Campania.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

That could be very expensive and by then the damage would be done... There may be another way out of your brother's unfortunate predicament.

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

And what may that be?

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

Well, you have just returned from America and that nation has been very generous to you. I'm just asking that you spread your good fortune around a bit. A five thousand lire “donation” will ensure that the book never sees publication.

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

Five thousand lire? I don't have that sort of money! I would have to sell all my family's lands to get that much.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

That is fine. I have always wanted to be nationally recognized as a writer.

(he goes to stand up)

Good Day.

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

Wait! Wait! I need at least a month. Can you give me a month?

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

From today.

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

Your family has done everything to get our lands for over thirty years. Looks like you'll finally have your way. I'll get you the money... somehow.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

Then it seems I may have to find other subjects for my writings.

INTERIOR SCENE - BENEVENTO BANK, JUNE 1933 - DAYTIME

Don Giovanni Miscio is standing at FILOMENA's bank teller window, losing patience with the wait.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

Filomena, can you tell me what is taking the bank manager so long? I'm sure he's seen deposits of five thousand lire before in his career!

FILOMENA

He said it would only take another minute, Don Giovanni.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

Tell him to hurry. I'm late for lunch.

Two uniformed POLICE OFFICERS enter the bank. Filomena points to Don Giovanni, and they quickly handcuff him.

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

What the hell are you doing?

POLICE OFFICER #1

Canon Giovanni Miscio, you are under arrest for extortion...

INTERIOR SCENE - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO FRIAR'S CELL, JUNE 1933 - DAYTIME

46 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO is pacing the cell, virtually beside himself. 51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE and his attorney ANDREA CAPRILE are sitting on wooden chairs by his desk.

46 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

A priest in jail! A priest! In jail! And all because of Padre Pio! No, it can't be! Michele, you must drop the charges immediately!

51 YEAR-OLD MICHELE

I can't. He has been after you and our family's lands for over thirty years. It is my duty to defend my brother and my family name against calumny!

46 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Attorney Caprile! Promise me that you won't let Don Giovanni be condemned!

ANDREA CAPRILE

Padre, I cannot work against my own client. Your brother is my client. And it would be next to impossible anyway! The judge has already called the manuscript 'obscene insinuations, especially repugnant in having been devised by a priest'.

46 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(furious)

I have spoken! I am sending you to see that the priest is not condemned!

ANDREA CAPRILE

(meekly)

Since you are commanding me, I will do everything I can to save the priest.

INTERIOR SCENE - VATICAN POPE'S OFFICE, JULY 1933 - DAYTIME

CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL is sitting by the desk of POPE PIUS XI.

POPE PIUS XI

So, Cardinal, it seems that your unimpeachable sources were not quite right about the Capuchin?

CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL

Your Holiness, Gagliardi and Gemelli are standing by their stories.

POPE PIUS XI

Stories that were mostly based on the mad rantings of a Canon who has been arrested for extortion! And don't speak to me about Gemelli, the blind doctor who cannot see what dozens of other physicians swear to, and that Gagliardi! Another one who was arrested, but this one on charges of rape! His archdiocese of Manfredonia is a center for sodomy! It seems we had only men of impeccable character to accuse the friar!

CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL

Holy Father, tell me what I can do to resolve this matter to your satisfaction.

POPE PIUS XI

We have unjustly punished Padre Pio for eleven years. Lift every restriction from him, grant him permission to preach honoris causa and issue a public statement from me, "I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed."

CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL

Yes, Holy Father.

Continued In Part 15

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