On Feburary 16, 2008, Cardinal Carlo Caffara (Archbishop of Bologna), after a Mass celebrated at the tomb of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, granted an interview to Tele Radio Padre Pio, which was subsequently reported in the monthly magazine “Voce di Padre Pio” March, 2008 . Here are some significant excerpts.
Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist (detail)
Chapel of San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto
Q. Your Eminence, recently in Corriere della Sera you said that you had always had a great devotion to Padre Pio. Please tell us why.
I have had great devotion to him since the beginning of my priesthood as a result of a rather unique experience. I had been a priest for some months and a brother-priest came to see me. He was quite a bit older than me and was going through a serious crisis of faith. It is difficult to describe what a crisis of faith is for a priest: a terrible thing! I told him “Brother, I’m too little, and sense that I can’t carry such a burden. Go to Padre Pio.” So he went, and while he was talking to Padre he had a great mystical experience, touched profoundly by the mercy of God. Now he is one of the best priests I know. There you have it, it all began like that.No, I didn’t. I never had the courage to go to him, thinking that I would be wasting his time! […] I retain that Padre Pio belongs to the series of great mystics who have this characteristic: the most profound sharing in the Cross of Christ, as they carry upon themselves the great tragedy of mankind today – atheism. Padre Pio, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross , Mother Theresa, the Curé d’Ars all had the experience of sitting round the table with sinners, living their experiences, of carrying, in a different way, the weight of the Agony in Gethsemane; they testified to the love of Christ Who takes upon Himself, the pain of the man who has left his Father’s house and doesn’t want to go back, even if he knows in his heart that he is better off in his Father’s house rather than tending to pigs. Man today continues to imagine that he can live as if God didn’t exist; and we see the devastation this has caused.Q. There is a prophecy by Sister Lucia dos Santos, of Fatima, which concerns “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan”. The battlefield is the family. Life and the family. We know that you were given charge by John Paul II to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family.Yes, I was. At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God John Paul II, I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her Bishop as I couldn’t do so directly. Unexplainably however, since I didn’t expect an answer, seeing that I had only asked for prayers, I received a very long letter with her signature – now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.Talking also to John Paul II, you felt too that this was the crux, as it touches the very pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman among the generations. If the founding pillar is touched the entire building collapses and we see this now, because we are at this point and we know it. And I’m moved when I read the best biographies of Padre Pio , on how this man was so attentive to the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of the spouses, even with justifiable rigor on occasion.
[Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana. Source: Voce di Padre Pio.]