You want CULT, - look to MOHAMMAD you atheist s.o.b.s at Rueters.
“However, he was dogged by accusations of fraud. A book last year suggested he was a self-harming man who might have used carbolic acid to cause his wounds. Church officials have denied he was a fake.”
Probably brought to you by the same people who said Christ arranged his own crucifixion (The same people who were telling us a few generations ago he never even existed).
All that book proved was that he likely tried to treat the wounds and used this common antiseptic, whilr trying to not advertise his condition. The Church requires that stigmatists treat the wounds and not display them until a supernatural cause becomes evident. Padre Pio did what the Church requires.
his body displays no signs of the stigmata anymore (at least according to reports I have heard).
if he personally wounded himself for 50 years, there would undoubtedly be marks on his body. apparently he does not have any scarring (50 years of self-mutilation would be visible on the corpse) so I doubt that he seared his hands with acid.
Actually, within the Catholic Church, the word "cult" refers to those Catholics who have a devotion to a particular saint, Mary, the angels etc. It's not the best word to use when addressing a non-Catholic audience, for obvious reasons.