Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Healer for a Broken Time

Vincent Di Stefano

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the Capuchin priest who carried the wounds of the crucified Christ, embodied truths that have been stridently denied by many who would tell us how we are to think and what we are to disbelieve during these times of overwhelming power and overwhelming impotence. This remarkable man bore witness to the essential truth carried in the Christian understanding of the Incarnation, of the human embodiment of the living Christ. As one who bore the stigmata, the five wounds of the crucified Christ, Padre Pio projected historical truth.

He shares this witness with such others as Saint Francis of Assisi and Therese Neumann, both of whose lives shatter the certainty of what has been considered the limits of the possible.

We pride ourselves on the cogency of the scientific knowledge and understanding that have enabled us to crack apart atoms and atolls, leave flags and footprints on the moon, and map the structure of cellular DNA. This same pride has decreed that only through such methods as those sanctioned by science can we arrive at Truth. But despite our proofs and our powers, many aspects of the phenomenal world continue to defy scientific interpretation.

Sixty years ago, historian of science Thomas Kuhn described how our ways of thinking can become so fixed that we refuse to accept any evidence that cannot be explained or accommodated by our view of the world or the paradigm through which we interpret reality. Kuhn went on to describe the progressive accumulation of "anomalous" evidence that does not fit in to our way of thinking. This can often force a complete reassessment of the paradigm or model through which such evidence is interpreted. This process underlies the periodic revolutions that occur in scientific understanding.

There is no shortage of "anomalous" manifestation in the world. And there is much that occurs in the experiences of many that simply cannot be accommodated by an exclusively materialistic and rationalistic view of reality.

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