A Brief History
One year ago today, on January 25, 2014, an unknown thief or thieves stole a reliquary from an Italian mountainside chapel containing a piece of the bloodied robe Pope John Paul II had been wearing when he had gotten shot during the failed 1981 assassination attempt on his life. Obviously, if a person or persons were true believers in the Catholic faith, they would not steal such a holy relic because whatever magical properties it might have had would certainly be cancelled by the wrath of God, or at least so you would think.
Italian police believed the theft was a contract job, with a thief commissioned to steal the reliquary, and they speculated that the purpose for the stolen blood was for use in a satanic ritual since little else of value was taken from the chapel. A massive effort to catch the perpetrators ensued.
Police caught up to the miscreants less than a week later, getting a confession from 2-3 supposed drug addicts to having stolen a cross and the reliquary. The bloodied cloth, however, was still missing, but it did turn up, however, found in a nearby garage, the thieves not knowing the value of what they had taken.
History and Headlines Word of the Day: A “reliquary” is a container or vessel used for the storage of a holy relic such as a bone or piece of clothing from a saint.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever seen a reliquary? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Weigel, George. Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. Harper Perennial, 2004.