The Gift of Prophecy: A Caution

Of all our sources, only two delve into the many prophecies attributed to Padre Pio; however there is a web site that has posted an entire page devoted to this aspect of the Saint's counsels, HERE, for those interested.

The gift of prophecy generally refers to the ability of a holy person to see into the future about a coming event or series of events with particular consequences for others, with moral-spiritual and social implications.

Prophecies do not carry the weight of infallibility, so we are free to be guarded in our response; if the person is a Saint, we ought not dismiss them outright. But we must remember that sometimes what the Saint actually said and how it is portrayed or depicted later on by devotees can involve discrepancies, through simple misunderstanding and human error, not necessarily nefarious motives.

Perhaps this is why all but two sources have refrained here. The RADIO REPLIES book, Who Is Padre Pio? is one source for listing some of the prophecies the authors consider credible, either already proven or not out of the realm of probability for the future. Among them are:

[1] Padre Pio once told a young man that he would be dead by a certain day and that he must prepare his soul; he died on the day Padre Pio said.

[2] During World War II the Saint promised that no bombs would fall upon San Giovanni Rotondo, and none did. Some people may say that it was a question of chance, but many bomber gunners have declared that when they flew over San Giovanni they could not release their bombs.

[3] "During the earthquake at Valnure, the water supply was destroyed in Pietrelcina and the inhabitants were in despair, not being able to water their cattle. They came to Padre Pio who asked them to show him a map of the region where the new monastery was being built, and the work was at a standstill owing to the lack of water. He put his finger on a certain spot and said 'Dig a well five meters from here and you will find all the water you want.' "  [p. 38.]

The other source is The Voice of Padre Pio, Vol. XXIX, No 6, 1999.

It is written on pages 10-12 that:

[1] Padre Pio predicted in 1942 that Germany would lose the war. I do not deny that the Saint said this, but many others said the same thing, ordinary people with known gift of prophecy, and as early as that. I tend to put this kind of statement as an educated opinion based on knowledge of history and war itself and the temper of the times. Sometimes, in the enthusiasm for all that a great Saint said and did, even those aspects that are not precisely proper to the domain of true prophecy take on an almost mythological aspect. This is human nature and not a criticism per se. For instance, when we went to war in Vietnam I said that we would suffer a disastrous defeat and that genocide would follow. I was a Vietnam protester. Well, I was surly right as was many of us, but none of us would permit anybody to ascribe the gift of prophecy to us if such was the case during our lifetime.

[2] Padre Pio said Italy would lose the war out of the mercy of God. The mercy portion can be said to be a form of prophecy because he attributes the intervention of God as a gift of grace. However, since Italy was an ally of Germany, it was certain that if Germany was defeated, its allies would follow.

[3] The other predictions described:
  • That Padre Pio said that he himself would die before another friar----true.
  • Mussolini would not die in his own bed, that he would pay heavily for his crimes----true, he was hung in the public square along with his mistress and left there for a while for the people to see. Yet, once again, could not it be said to be reasonable that people in general could accurately predict that Mussolini would be executed as a war criminal, since that is the tendency of the victors and the victims after the criminals are defeated? A part of human nature that has been so demoralized and victimized that justice demands some retribution as a warning, etc.? Just a thought.
Two of the most prevalent purported prophecies, in the public domain for years now, but which I have not been able to verify are that Padre Pio said that Sister Lucy would live to see a great miracle connected to Fatima, and that he told the future Pope John Paul II that we would become pope and that he would be murdered during his reign. If the later prophecy occurred, he was only partly accurate as Pope John Paul II was not murdered, unless there was some very secret intrigue involving Vatican insiders. I am not suggesting any such thing! The former in re Sister Lucy did not occur as we now know. If this papal prophecy was ever given by the Saint and written precisely as he said, I do not know why he was correct about one part and not about another.

Joan Carroll Cruz writes that there were three priests who wanted to know the order in which they would die. Padre Pio gave them the order of their deaths and he was, indeed, correct in all three cases. One of the priests was the friar referred to above.

Maria Pyle, one of the saint's devoted friends asked Padre Pio: "What am I going to do when God calls you?" To this the holy priest replied, "You are going to greet me." The woman was in good health when she asked the question, but she did, in fact, die before Padre Pio. I am certain that she did greet him just as the holy friar predicted.

Archbishop Barbieri asked Padre Pio to assist him on his deathbed, but Padre Pio replied, "No, I will die before you, but I will assist you from Heaven." The Archbishop lived to be eighty-seven, outliving Padre Pio by eleven years.

The case that I am about to describe can only be classified as that belonging to mystical knowledge. It concerns the plastic surgeon, Dr. Piero Meililo, a devotee of the Saint, who had suffered a brain hemorrhage. His doctors thought that the bleeding was caused by a severe aneurysm in one of the major blood vessels in his brain; they wanted to operate then and there. Dr. Meililo was told by them not to move in order to avoid a massive stroke that could kill him. He was reluctant to have the operation and consulted with his friend, Padre Pio who immediately told him not to have the surgery. Moreover, Padre pio insisted that it be canceled, not just postponed. The physicians were confounded by their patient's decision, telling him that if he got out of bed he would drop dead on the floor. Dr. Meililo had faith in Padre Poi's prophecy that he would be well and continued his normal routine continuing his medical practice for the next twenty years. [Cruz, pp. 204-205.]

Some of the prophecies of the scale attributed to the Saint are, in my estimation the least important. Whether they turned out to be 100% or not accurate can be attributed to unknown factors, such as simple misunderstanding. His life, his obvious sanctity and the souls he rescued from damnation, the glory he rendered to Almighty God and his love of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Mass far outweigh and surpass any prophecy. I will leave it at this.