Italy’s Padre Pio used carbolic acid to cause bleeding wounds on his hands that he claimed were replicas of Christ’s, according to a new book.

Pio, a former monk who died in 1968 aged 81, wore gloves because his hands bled constantly for 50 years in what were revered as stigmata wounds.

He became Italy’s most loved saint after he was canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

But a new book has heaped more scorn on the claims that his wounds were duplicates of those suffered by Jesus during the crucifixion.

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