Established in 1844: America's Oldest Catholic Newspaper in Continuous
Catholics Cautioned about 'Objectionable' Magazine

By Chuck Moody
Pittsburgh Catholic [Pittsburgh PA]
January 7, 2005

Diocesan officials are cautioning clergy and the faithful that a magazine that has been distributed in some area churches is published by a group that is not an official ecclesiastical organization and is associated with a former priest who has been declared “dismissed from the clerical state” by the pope.

“In a number of our parishes, we have found that there has been the distribution of a quarterly magazine entitled ‘Thorns and Roses,’” said Father Lawrence DiNardo, diocesan vicar for canonical services and director of the Department for Canon and Civil Law Services. “This magazine is published by the Padre Pio Spiritual Refuge Inc. They are based in Pittsburgh. They are not an official ecclesiastical organization.

“The primary organization that honors St. Padre Pio is operated by the Capuchin Franciscan fathers in (Pittsburgh’s) Lawrenceville (neighborhood). The Padre Pio Spiritual Refuge Inc. is headed by a person known as Anthony Cipolla, a priest who has been declared ‘dismissed from the clerical state’ by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.”

Cipolla was banned from ministry in 1988 by Bishop Donald Wuerl following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Cipolla was laicized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

St. Padre Pio was a Capuchin priest who was canonized in June 2002. St. Padre Pio of Pietralcina, Italy, who died in 1968 at the age of 81, bore the stigmata — the bleeding wounds of Christ — for a half-century. He also was well-known as a dedicated confessor.

Contributions in memory of the late Capuchin priest should be made to the friars’ Province of St. Augustine in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. The number of the province development office is 412-682-1300.

Thorns and Roses contains material that is “certainly objectionable,” Father DiNardo said.

“Such as attacks on the hierarchy of the church and an article authored by ‘Father Anthony Cipolla,’” he said.

People should be aware of several things regarding the magazine, Father DiNardo said.

“Once again, reiterating that Anthony Cipolla has been dismissed from the clerical state by order of the Holy Father,” he said. “Secondly, that the Padre Pio Spiritual Refuge Inc. does not have ecclesiastical approbation.

“Thirdly, that Thorns and Roses does not have any imprimatur from the church. And fourthly, if people have a devotion to St. Padre Pio and wish to make some sort of charitable contribution, they should not do so to the Spiritual Refuge Inc., but to the Capuchin Franciscan fathers.”


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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