Thieves Steal Pope John Paul’s Blood

UPDATE:  Arrests have been made – but no recovery as yet.

Undated handout photo of a reliquary with the blood of Blessed John Paul II


Thieves broke into a small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole a reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said on Monday.

Dozens of police with sniffer dogs scoured the remote area for clues to what the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana called “a sacrilegious theft that was probably commissioned by someone”.

Franca Corrieri told Reuters she had discovered a broken window early on Sunday morning and had called the police. When they entered the small stone church they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.

John Paul, who died in 2005, loved the mountains in the Abruzzo region. He would sometimes slip away from the Vatican secretly to hike or ski there and pray in the church.

Polish-born John Paul, who reigned for 27 years, is due to be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in May, meaning the relic will become more noteworthy and valuable.

In 2011, John Paul’s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, now archbishop of Krakow in Poland, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff’s blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area.

It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L’Aquila.

Corrieri, who is part of an association that looks after the small church, said the incident felt more like a “kidnapping” than a theft. “In a sense, a person has been stolen,” she said by telephone.

She said she could not say if the intention of the thieves may have been to seek a ransom for the blood.

Apart from the reliquary and a crucifix, nothing else was stolen from the isolated church, even though Corrieri said the thieves would probably have had time to take other objects during the night-time theft.

Some of John Paul’s blood was saved after an assassination attempt that nearly killed him in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.


Guilt-Stricken Thief Returns Bible 42 Years Later


They never thought they’d see it again, but 42 years after their Bible was stolen in 1971, Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, England, received an intriguing letter in the mail. The anonymous note was sent to church treasurer Simon Scott and read, “You won’t believe receiving this letter and you certainly won’t believe receiving a bible in the post shortly,” according to the BBC.

To the surprise of the church administration, a huge box containing a large leather-bound version of The Holy Bible, complete with brass clasps, later arrived in the mail, just as promised.

The letter from the 1971 thief explained the he and his wife had moved to England from Germany, and hoped to improve his language skills by enrolling in an English class. However, the class was very expensive and fell short of his expectations, so he took it upon himself to study outside of the course.

Some lessons took place inside the Hastings church, and he said he, “saw these bibles just sitting there, unused he felt.” He decided to take one home in order to read it and improve his English through self-study. However, he “never got round to doing it,” and felt the twinges of a guilty conscience whenever he saw the book for years after the incident.

The thief said that his wife was “pretty angry” with him for taking the beautiful Bible. “I’ve never managed to pluck up the courage to come and hand it back personally,” he added. “But now that I’ve retired, I’ve definitely decided to get on the right side of things.”

Scott told the BBC that he didn’t think the Bible was worth very much, but seemed pleased with the story’s conclusion, commenting, “We’ve got ours back.”


Art World Fearing the Worst

Ignorant peasant or not, this simply reprehensible!

Paris — To Olga Dogaru, a lifelong resident of the tiny Romanian village of Carcaliu, the strangely beautiful artworks her son had brought home in a suitcase four months earlier had become a curse.

No matter, she said, that the works — seven in all — were signed by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan. Her son had just been arrested on suspicion of orchestrating the art robbery of the century: stealing masterpieces in a brazen October-night theft from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

But if the paintings and drawings no longer existed, Radu Dogaru, her son, could be free from prosecution, she reasoned. So Mrs. Dogaru told the police that on a freezing night in February, she placed all seven works — which included Monet’s 1901 “Waterloo Bridge, London”; Gauguin’s 1898 “Girl in Front of Open Window”; and Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin Head” — in a wood-burning stove used to heat saunas and incinerated them…

Read the rest here.

In total, the works were valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, but for curators and art lovers, their loss would be irreplaceable…

She even threw her plastic sandals in to help ignite the paintings… Such backwardness…


Woman Accused of Stealing a Bible

Huff Po:

If you steal a book that famously commands you not to steal, does that drive home the point or negate it?

Fleming, 23, of Powder Springs, Ga., was arrested April 26, for allegedly stealing the good book from a Barnes & Noble in Cobb County, Ga.

She was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting, according to an arrest warrant obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fleming was released on a $1,000 bond, reported.

However, she could have avoided the whole thing if she went to a church instead of a book store.

That’s because many churches and other groups offer Bibles for free…



Recovered: Priest’s $6,000 Stolen Chalice

But in so many ways, it’s not something you can put a price on.

Details, from the St. Louis Review:

When he was ordained to the priesthood four years ago, Father Noah Waldman took some of the money he had saved over the years and bought himself his first chalice. The handmade vessel was commissioned by Church supplier Adrian Hamers of New York and modeled after a chalice [shown on the left] used by St. Philip Neri, a 16th century Italian priest and Father Waldman’s personal patron saint.

He paid about $6,000 for the silver- and gold-plated chalice, depleting half of his savings. And earlier this month, right before he was to leave for a new parish assignment, Father Waldman’s chalice was stolen from the sacristy of Sts. Joachim and Ann Parish in St. Charles, where he had served as an associate pastor since his 2008 ordination

The chalice, which today is valued at a little under $10,000, is one of several items that were stolen from the parish in mid-June. Several offertory boxes, containing an unknown amount of money, were burglarized, along with other items from the parish.

As the Review went to press June 27, Father Waldman confirmed that the chalice was returned to him. St. Peters Police arrested 20-year-old Sean McDonald of St. Charles County. The chalice turned up at a St. Charles jewelry store. The store owner contacted police after seeing a news report about the stolen chalice. McDonald turned himself in after learning he was a suspect in the theft.

Father Waldman explained that while he considers the theft unjust, he believes that in some way it was just simply part of God’s providence. He added that as a priest, he has a special devotion to his paten and chalice — the sacred vessels used in consecrating the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ — because of his eucharistic spirituality.

“The Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ not only touch these vessels, they are created in them,” he said. “This is the center of the eucharistic action. It’s very traditional in eucharistic devotion for a priest to have a special love for the sacred vessels, his chalice especially.”

The has additional details:

Waldman, a convert from Judaism, said that traditionally a priest’s first chalice is a present from his parents.

But because his father had died and his mother didn’t understand the tradition, he bought the $6,000 chalice with his own savings. It is sterling silver and covered in gold and is inscribed with his name and the 2008 date of his ordination.

“That’s where the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ,” he explained. “It is a sacred object to us. It has a lot of sentimental and devotional value.”

Waldman said parishioners had been praying for the chalice’s return, but in the meantime, he made plans to buy a new one.

Then on Wednesday morning, Sean M. McDonald, of the 900 block of Cottontail Lane in St. Charles County, turned himself in at a Cottleville fire station after realizing he was a suspect.

The firefighters called police. McDonald admitted stealing from church donation boxes and taking the chalice, police said. He knew the entry code to get into the church because a family member is a parishioner and he had gone into the church many times himself, authorities said.

He took it to a St. Charles jeweler who paid him $100 for it. The jeweler hadn’t realized the chalice was stolen and contacted police after seeing news reports about it, police said.

McDonald was charged Wednesday with burglary and theft.