Italy church appeals to thieves to return John Paul blood relic
ROME (REUTERS) - The Catholic Church has appealed to thieves to return a reliquary containing the blood of the late Pope John Paul II that disappeared in what it called a "vile and sacrilegious theft".
The gold reliquary was stolen at the weekend from a small stone church, San Pietro della Ienca, in the mountains east of Rome, where, in his younger days, the Pope would slip away secretly from the pressures of the Vatican to hike and ski.
"I appeal to the those who carried out this deplorable act," Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of the city of L'Aquila said in a letter to local Catholics on Monday night.
"Give it back," he said.