Capuchins Will Continue to Run Padre Pio Shrine, Says Vatican

Denies Media Reports to the Contrary

VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2003 ( Responding to media reports, the Vatican denied it has removed the Capuchins from pastoral care at St. Padre Pio’s shrine.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said in a statement today that “the Capuchin Fathers will continue to run the shrine.”

“The archbishop of the place, however, has the right and duty to watch over the pastoral activity that takes place there, as does every bishop in his diocese according to the general norms of canon law,” Navarro-Valls added.

The misunderstanding followed the March 8 appointment of Archbishop Domenico Umberto D’Ambrosio as archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, delegate of the Holy See for the works of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

The Vatican spokesman explained that the “title of Holy See delegate for the works of Padre Pio is similar to that given by the Supreme Pontiffs to the delegates of other shrines.”

In statements to Vatican Radio, Navarro-Valls added: “I can understand the sense of alarm, of curiosity at the first moment, but it is necessary to know well the details so as not to be carried away by expressions that have nothing to do with the facts.”

John Paul II proclaimed Padre Pio a saint last June 16. St. Pio’s shrine has become one of the most popular, with about 8 millions visitors a year, according to data published by the Italian press.

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