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Blood of Blessed John Paul II stolen from Italian church

A priest carrying a vial containing the blood of Blessed John Paul II (CNS)

Thieves have reportedly stolen a relic of Blessed John Paul II from a country chapel 85 miles east of Rome.

Italian media reported that the relic, a piece of fabric soaked in Blessed John Paul’s blood, had disappeared over the preceding weekend from the church of San Pietro della Ienca. The church, where the Pope often prayed while on holiday, is near the city of L’Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region.

A volunteer at the church discovered that intruders sawed through bars over the one of the windows and made off with the relic as well as a cross.

One theory has been put forward suggesting that the relic was stolen by a satanic group.

“It’s possible that there could be Satanic sects behind the theft of the reliquary,” said Giovanni Panunzio, the national coordinator of an anti-occult group called Osservatorio Antiplagio.

“This period of the year is important in the Satanic calendar and culminates in the Satanic ‘new year’ on February 1. This sort of sacrilege often take place at this time of the year. We hope that the stolen items are recovered as quickly as possible.”

Police were reportedly searching the surrounding woods with dogs in case the thieves had discarded the relic there. Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, who served as Blessed John Paul’s personal secretary, gave the relic to the chapel in recognition of the Pope’s many visits.