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Stigmata

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Definition: The wounds (marks) that Christ suffered during his crucifixion. Beginning with Francis of Assisi in the 13th century, these wounds have allegedly appeared on the bodies of various Catholics. Padre Pio, an Italian priest, is perhaps the most famous recent Catholic stigmatic, having been beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999.

Discussion: Stigmatic marks most often occur on those who have wreaked havoc on their bodies, thinking they are serving Christ through harsh fasting and severe treatment of the body. This practice of suffering in order to be godly is called worthless by the apostle Paul. He also warns the Colossians not to be defrauded of salvation by those who delight in such practices (Col. 2:18-19). Catholics would do well to meditate on the warnings outlined in Colossians chapter 2.

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