December 28, 2006

Movie Review: Padre Pio: Miracle Man

Last night I found myself home alone, so I got some hot and sour soup and watched Padre Pio: Miracle Man, which has been lying around the house. It's a fine treatment, and worth watching if you're interested. Church and Capuchin details are done pretty well.

Though it presents Pio as the saint he is, it does take seriously some of the irregularity of his religious life and the struggles, censures, and accusations he went through with the brothers and the hierarchy.

For me, I've never known what to make of the man. A lot of friars don't have a lot of nice things to say about him, and, from what I understand, it has been proven that he plagiarized some of his spiritual advice from his contemporary and sister stigmatic, St. Gemma Galgani. In the end, I judge Padre Pio by the "by their fruits you shall know them" principle; he seems to have engendered so much devotion and love of God and the faith all over the world, so there must be something to his sanctity.

It's a long, episodic movie. There's a lot of great work with color and light and shadow. The DVD I had allowed you to watch it in the original Italian, or dubbed into English or Spanish. Subtitles in English could be turned on and off.


myosotis said...

I recently did a couple of posts about Padre Pio, who my parents met with several times. He has been a constant in our lives, and I was named after him. When asked about his life, he said "I am a mystery unto my own self". With regards to his plagiarizing St.Gemma, I'd like to know more about it. She is also my patron saint oddly enough. I know there was some kind of correspondence or mystical happenings between them, but I didn't know it regarded plagiarism.

Unknown said...

I too have a friendship with Padre Pio. The movie, which is one of my favorite movies, is not historically accurate, but movies rarely are. It does the service to viewers to inspire more interest, not just him Pio, but in God, Whom Pio loves so much. This, as you say, is the true fruit of his life, imperfect though all lives are, including saints.

Regarding accusations of plegarism--that is a harsh judgement to make because it then sounds as though he were looking for credit for the wisdom or advice--rather than what he was doing, passing along such wisdom so that others might progress in their spiritual lives. Do not all spiritual directors, confessors, priests, ministers, etc. pass on the gems of spirituality they receive from others, from reading, from the classics, the saints, the very Gospel that calls us to Life? That is NOT plagerism, it is Christian Charity, sharing such good news with another so s/he might find God. Plagerism presumes one is looking for the credit. That is not Padre Pio. Such accusations are made by jealous persons who themselves are not truly seeking that union with Love that filled Pio.

I have a religious store in the Poconos PA, and I push that movie and friendship with Pio as much as I can without being a pain in the tail to those who come to our shop. He is a friend of Christ's, and as the saying goes...any friend of His is a friend of mine!

I hope others really can enjoy this movie for what it does--inspire love of God. THEN get the real history in books about him.

Thanks for the blog on this topic.
Cait Finnegan

MarieDi said...

I've never heard that a lot of friars criticized him. That detail is in none of the three biographies I have read. I am thinking this is the movie that was criticized by those who knew and studied the life of Padre Pio - though I can't remember why. But on the subject of plagiarism.... I have been having many bizarre experiences with praying and writing and hearing MY WORDS in the next day's noon Mass by the priest! I have come to believe that if you pray a lot and try to be humble, that others who pray may receive your ideas - now I know that is far fetched, but if something is important to you and you are telling the Blessed Mother, "I just so need the grace of not wanting to be...oh, how shall I put it... the center of attention" it seems reasonable that if the PRIEST is praying, "Jesus please give me the words my people need to hear for the sermon tomorrow" that He does! (That, by the way, just happened last week! I could hardly focus on the rest of the mass!)

Padre Pio was known to, there were too many people who testified to the fact to dispute it - read hearts. It is ENTIRELY plausible, if my theory is correct, that Padre Pio was given words to use.