Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 7

INTERIOR SCENE - FORGIONE PIETRELCINA HOUSE, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

15 year-old Francesco enters and slowly closes the front door behind him.

BEPPA

What are you doing home at this hour? I didn't expect you to be home from the church until dinnertime!

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

Pati has told me that I have been suspended from all duties until a future date.

BEPPA

What? Why would the Archpriest do that to you?

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

He did not say and I did not ask.

BEPPA

I don't understand! Why?

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

It is the will of God. What is there to ask?

INTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA RECTORY, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

The Archpriest is surrounded by several PRIESTS and TOWNFOLK including ORESTE MISCIO standing beside EUSTACHIO MISCIO. They are all involved in an animated discussion. The Archpriest moves to take back control of the conversation before it turns into a mob.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Quiet down! Quiet! Sit all of you! Sit down.

PIETRELCINA PRIEST #1

Right Reverend, I must move that with the overwhelming amount of evidence presented here against the Forgione boy, that we take immediate action to protect our community against this mortal sinner.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(to the newly re-agitated group)

Quiet! I said quiet down! I have heard no evidence. All I have heard is hearsay which can all be traced down to just two interlinked families which may or may not have a grudge against the Forgione family.

ORESTE MISCIO

I saw him with my own eyes through the stationmaster's window!

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

And it is no secret, Oreste that your family, the Miscios, has been trying to gain the title deed to the Forgione's farm ever since you rented the land when Zi 'Razio left for America.

ORESTE MISCIO

That has nothing to do with mortal sin in the heart of our village!

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Coveting is also a mortal sin!

PIETRELCINA PRIEST #1

Right Reverend, what of the case of the lurid love letter sent by Francesco Forgione to a girl in his class, which so enraged his teacher Angelo Caccavo that he beat the boy soundly with his fists?

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Such nonsense! Don Caccavo himself later acknowledged that it was a forgery by some of the other boys in the class! A schoolboy prank!

PIETRELCINA PRIEST #1

It is clear that although young Forgione presents a devout appearance to the world, it could be an elaborate masquerade to hide the black heart of a sinner. I propose that his suspension be maintained until a formal investigation is completed on these very serious charges.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(begrudgingly)

I will contact the Vicar General and ask for this investigation. His office will decide Francesco's fate.

EXTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA HILLSIDE, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

15 year-old Francesco is writing a letter to his father in America. ANGLE on the letter as he reads:

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

(THE VOICE IS HEARD OVER THE SCENE)

Thanks be to your friend who lovingly scribes the words you dictate. We too are well, thanks be to the Lord, and I, in a special way, send continual prayers to our gracious Virgin, in order that she may protect you from every evil and restore you to our love, safe and sound.

INTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA RECTORY, NOVEMBER 1902 - DAYTIME

The Archpriest sits behind the large desk while the VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT is interrogating ROSA BOVIO a frightened, embarassed, tender young girl of 14, in the presence of various PRIESTS including CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO.

VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT

Rosa Bovio, do you deny the facts outlined in this signed affidavit by Doctor Giacinto Guadagna...

(he places a paper on the Archpriest's desk)

... that on the evening of October eleventh, he was called in the middle of the night to your house as you were bleeding profusely from your loins and the Doctor's examination proved that you had miscarried a fetus advanced almost two months?

ROSA BOVIO

(in a semi-whisper)

No, your Beatitude.

Gasps go up from the priests, who cross themselves.

VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT

And do you deny that you told Don Giovanni Miscio outside the confessional that the spawn of this bastard fetus was Francesco Forgione?

ROSA BOVIO

(still in a bare whisper)

No, your Beatitude.

More gasps and crossing.

VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT

Brothers in Jesus, we have here a confession to a sin of the highest order. I have no option but to refer to the Vicar General a request for excommunication of Francesco Forgione.

(to more gasps)

Don Pannullo, will you sign such request?

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(beat)

Yes, I will.

ROSA BOVIO breaks down and cries.

ROSA BOVIO

No, I can't. I just can't.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

What is it Rosa? What can't you do?

ROSA BOVIO

I can't continue with this. It's not right. It's a sin. I will burn in hell...

CANON GIOVANNI MISCIO

(rushing to cut Rosa off)

The Archpriest has agreed to sign the request. This investigation is over. The girl is simply repenting of her sins. I suggest we close this...

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Don Miscio, I want to hear what the girl has to say!

VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT

Rosa, what you have done with Francesco is a sin and you have already sinned.

ROSA BOVIO

No. The lie is the sin. The lie...

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

What lie? Tell us Rosa!

ROSA BOVIO

I barely know Francesco Forgione. I've said hello in the street a time or two...

VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT

But you have just confessed...

ROSA BOVIO

No. They made me say it...

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Who made you say it?

ROSA BOVIO

(sobbing uncontrollably)

My older sister's fiancee, Eugenio Miscio.

VICAR GENERAL'S ASSISTANT

Why would the man engaged to your sister make you tell a lie against Francesco Forgione?

ROSA BOVIO

Because... because... Eugenio was the father of my baby!

ROSA BOVIO faints and falls off her chair. PIETRELCINA PRIEST #2 rushes to grab her before her head hits the base of the desk. Gasps and invocations all around. Archpriest Pannullo buries his face in his hands.

Continued In Part 8

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