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Suspects arrested, but relic of Bl. John Paul II still missing

Catholic World News - January 30, 2014

Italian authorities have recovered a stolen reliquary that contained a relic of Blessed John Paul II, but the contents of the reliquary—a blood-soaked piece of the late Pontiff’s cassock—is still missing.

Police arrested three men on January 30 and charged them with the theft of the reliquary from a church in the Abruzzo region. The suspects, who have a history of drug use and petty theft, at first said that they could not recall what they had done with the reliquary, but later told police where it could be found.

A search uncovered the small gold case, along with a crucifix stolen from the same church, near a drug-treatment center in the town of Collegmaggio. The search continues for the cloth.

The theft of the relic had originally prompted fears that someone planned to demand a ransom for the reliquary. However, the suspects said that they broke into the church in hope of finding something that could be sold quickly for drug money. The three men said that they discarded the reliquary, not realizing its value.

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