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Padre Pio is Venerable

by Padre Gerardo Di Flumeri, OFM Cap.



By declaring Padre Pio Venerable the Holy Father has concluded the Process of Beatification. The Vice Postulator, Father Gerardo explains exactly what took place in this private ceremony.

On 18 December 1997 the decree on the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, was issued. From this day forward the Padre was given the right to the title of "Venerable."

The title "Venerable" states only that the Apostolic See has recognized the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God and has issued the relative decree. It does not authorize any public and ecclesiastical cult, which the Church usually concedes to Servants of God who have been canonized or only beatified.

Before the Code of Canon Law of 1917, the title "Venerable" was given to a Servant of God after the decree of the introduction of the cause. The Congregation of rites then prohibited the application of this title until the decree on the heroicity or martyrdom was issued (26 August 1913). This prohibition was confirmed in c. 2115, 2 of the Code of 1917.

Padre PioAs regards Padre Pio, here in brief synthesis are the principal steps which led him to this title.

The diocesan process brought to completion (1983-1990), the voluminous documentation, collected by the ecclesiastical tribunal and historic commission, and was consigned to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who appointed an official reporter. Overseen by him, after five years of tireless work (1991-1996), the Postulation drew up the "positio." On 15 December 1996, synthesized in four volumes and divided in six tomes, the "positio" was consigned to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who, in an informal meeting on the 19th, entrusted it to eight theological consultors, in the same Congregation.

The theological Consultors immediately set to work, reading and studying the vast documentation, on the life, the apostolic work and virtues of the Servant of God. After five months of intense work they were able to pronounce their judgment, which they presented in writing. Then on 13 June 1997, there was a meeting of the special Congress of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, constituted according to the Regulation of the same department approved "ad experimentum" by the Holy Father on 21 March 1983, art. 7 and 22 - by the general Promoter of the Faith, and the eight theological Consultors, to discuss the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

Overseen by the aforesaid Promoter, there was an extensive and thoroughly examined discussion, in which all the Consultors pronounced their positive judgment on the Servant of God and confirmed with a written vote. To the question if they acknowledged the heroicity of the virtues, 9 out of 9, including the general Promoter of the Faith gave their affirmative vote, "recognizing in the Servant of God one of the most loved religious figures of this century who they desired to see raised to the honour of the altars."

The nine votes with the Promoter's report, were printed in an apposite volume, which together with the tomes of the "positio" were consigned to the cardinals and bishops, members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, for the last and definitive examination of the heroicity of virtues. After about three months of study, the cardinals and bishops, met in the ordinary Congregation, on 21 October 1997, and heard the presentation of the Advocate of the cause, appointed previously in the person of Mgr Andrea Maria Erba, Bishop of Velletri-Segni. After the exhaustive presentation of the Advocate, all the cardinals and bishops present pronounced their favourable view on the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

The Holy Father, informed of the positive result of the two Commissions (the Congress of the theologians and the Congregation of the cardinals and bishops) approved the positive view pronounced by them and gave his confirmation and final judgment, formulated in the "Decree on the heroicity of the virtues," that was read and proclaimed.

From this day forward Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was given the right to the title of Venerable.

[EWTN- As of 2 May 1999 Padre Pio has been declared Blessed.]

[From the Voice of Padre Pio, February 1998, Friary of Our Lady of Grace, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, (FG), Italy. Used with permission of: The National Center for Padre Pio, 2213 Old Route 100, Barto, PA 19504, through which a subscription may be obtained.]

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