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Italian journal defends Padre Pio against charges of plagiarism

Although he used the words of an Italian mystic as if they were his own, Padre Pio was not plagiarising her, the Italian Jesuit journal La Civila Cattolica has said.

The Italian Capuchin who was canonised last year never attributed to St Gemma Galgani the sections he quoted from her letters. But calling Padre Pio the patron saint of plagiarists would be to misunderstand the psychological and spiritual dynamics at work, said an article in La Civilta Cattolica.

The article, subtitled "Plagiarism or identification?" looked at 10 letters Padre Pio wrote to his spiritual directors in 1911-13.

The letters contain sections copied word for word or only slightly changed from published letters and texts written by St Gemma between 1899 and 1902.

The "unexpected phenomenon of a saint who explains the state of his own soul to his spiritual directors by copying sections of letters" written by another saint deserves investigation, the magazine said.

Catholic News Service

20 May 2003