Less than a week after a relic of Blessed John Paul II disappeared from a country chapel east of Rome, Italian police arrested two men for the theft, but the venerated piece of fabric stained with the late Pope’s blood was still missing.
Italian media reported earlier today
that police had found an empty iron reliquary, along with a stolen
cross, buried on the grounds of a drug treatment facility in the city of
L’Aquila, about 75 miles east of Rome.
Two men in their early
20s, who were being questioned in connection with another crime,
confessed they had stolen the objects and then revealed their location
But the men said they had discarded the relic itself –
reportedly a piece of the clothing Blessed John Paul was wearing when
he was shot May 13, 1981 – by throwing it into some bushes near the
Members of Italy’s specialized scientific police were
searching the grounds.
The relic and the cross were first
reported missing from the church of San Pietro della Ienca over the
weekend of January 25-26.
The church, where Blessed John Paul often
prayed, is located 13 miles north of L’Aquila, in the mountainous
Abruzzo region where the late pope frequently went on brief vacations.