A religious relic containing some of Pope John Paul II's blood was stolen from an Italian church over the weekend. Police believe it may be the work of Satanists, as, while the relic is rare and valuable, "resale would be highly difficult."
The relic, a piece of gauze with some of the pope's blood on it from a 1981 assassination attempt, is one of just three known relics with John Paul II's blood. It was given to the Church of San Pietro della Ienca in 2011 because John Paul II loved the mountainous area in which it is located. Reuters notes that he often traveled there to ski or hike and prayed in that church. A crucifix was also stolen, but the collection box and other valuable items were left behind. Clearly, the vampiric thieves were looking for one thing and one thing only: Pope John Paul II's blood. And a crucifix.
Dozens of police officers are currently searching the area with sniffer dogs, the BBC reports. In 2012, another relic with the pope's blood was stolen after three men stole a backpack containing it from a priest, not knowing what it held. But there was a happy ending: the relic was located "among the reeds" where the thieves had probably ditched it.
Also in 2012, the 900-year-old heart of St. Laurence O'Toole was stolen from a church in Dublin, where it had been since the 13th century. It has not been found yet.
The relic will become even more valuable in April when John Paul II will be declared a saint. Hopefully the blood will be found before then, or at least before Dan Brown writes a book about all of this.