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The Busted Halo Question Box
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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Our readers asked:

Is there anyone in scripture who was known to have the stigmata?

Joe Paprocki Answers:

Stigmata, from the Greek word for “marks” or “signs,” refers to the physical manifestations of the wounds of Jesus on the hands, feet, side, and brow, accompanied by intense suffering. These are called visible stigmata. When someone experiences the sufferings without any outward marks, these phenomena are called invisible stigmata. Although a small number of saints over the centuries have been known to bear the stigmata as a means of participating in Jesus’ suffering, no reliable list exists. Certainly no one in Scripture was known to have the stigmata. Saint Francis of Assisi, one of the best-known examples of a saint bearing stigmata, is considered the first to bear these marks. The Catholic Church is very cautious about reported instances of the stigmata because of the possibility of a hoax and the possibility that some people could distort the meaning of the stigmata. Ultimately, the stigmata are associated with the holiness of an individual. By contrast, the 1999 film titled Stigmata wrongly portrays it as a type of possession that overtakes an atheist. Despite the curiosity over such phenomena, Catholics are to remember that nothing is more central to a person’s faith than the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Sacraments.

The Author : Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).
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