Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I lied. I mentioned below, that I was sick of writing about the scandals, but as I'm reading the script for the Padre Pio audio book that we are doing, I come across the following information:

Archbishop Gagliardi made wider accusations, "Padre Pio is demon-possessed," he declared. "I declare to you that he has a devil and the friars of San Giovanni Rotundo are a band of theives. With my own eyes I saw Padre Pio perfume himself and put makeup on his face. All this I swear on my pectoral cross!" He went on to make the lurid charge that Padre Pio frequently slept in the friary's guest room with attractive young women. His Capuchin brethren, living in "unspeakable luxury," had been paying newsmen to write sensational accounts of non-existent miracles and conversions in order to generate revenue for the friary of Our Lady of Grace.

Here we have it all, accusing the media of making the whole thing up, the saint sleeping with women and Franciscan's living in luxury. Calls to mind, Fr. Greeley's recent column...

But as Paul Harvey would say, now it's time for the rest of the story...

For what you don't know about Archbishop Galiardi, appointed Archbishop at the age of 37 in 1897, yes--1897 is the following:

Gagliardi had been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct. There were constant complaints that he protected and even showed preference preference for priests who were homosexual or pedophiles, and accepted gifts from unsavory clerics. Gagliardi was personally so unpopular in his archdiocese that a riot broke out during a visit in the town of Vieste. The archbishop, celebrating Mass, had been attacked by a mob of 600 men and women, who pelted him with stones and bricks, charged the altar, threw his missal at him, knocked him to the floor and began to punch and kick him, until several priests dragged him into an adjoining room and slammed the door, but soon a mob overcame the constables, and tore off the archbishop's vestments. As the men chanted obscenities, several women bared knives to castrate him, before more police came to rescue him intact.

I guess the moral of the story is beware of who is making the accusations. The accused will be declared a Saint in May, but the accuser will soon be forgotten.