The book - The Other Christ: Padre Pio and the Italy of the 19th Century which is due for release next week - claims the bleeding wounds were self inflicted and were not gained in a mystical seizure, but by using carbolic acid, The Age reported.
Historian Sergio Luzzatto, the book’s author, said he drew on documents found in the Vatican archive.
In one, an Italian pharmacist testifies that his devout cousin, Maria De Vito, returned from pilgrimage to Pio's church in San Giovanni in 1919 with a request from the young priest for a bottle of acid.
Padre Pio – whose real name was Francesco Forgione - told De Vito the acid was for disinfecting syringes, a claim apparently accepted by the Holy See during the beatification process.
Canonised five years ago to become St Pio of Pietrelcina, Luzzatto's claims have been dismissed by the Catholic Anti-defamation League, which said he was spreading libels.
A recent survey by Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana found 31 per cent of respondents prayed first to St Pio for help, then Mary, and then Jesus.
Sainted Padre Pio 'faked' stigmata (The Age, 26/10/07)
Saint faked stigmata by pouring acid on his hands (Daily Mail, 24/10/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Padre Pio - Offical Site
Stigmata - Catholic Encyclopedia
Italy makes St Padre Pio patron of civil defence volunteers (CathNews, 02/04/04)
Vatican takes control of Padre Pio shrine (CathNews, 06/05/03)
Big crowds at Vatican for Padre Pio canonisation (CathNews, 1