Man Accused Of Stealing Pope Benedict’s Crucifix Charged

A 53-year-old man accused of stealing a priceless crucifix worn by Pope Benedict XVI is facing trial in Germany.

Senior Public Prosecutor Rainer Vietze announced on 13th February that the suspect is to answer theft and criminal damage charges at a court in Traunstein, Bavaria, later this year.

Prosecutors estimate the damage alone at EUR 2,000 (GBP 1,706).

The cross, known as a pectoral cross, was donated by Pope Benedict to St Oswald church in his native Bavaria when he retired in 2013.

Covered in gold, the cross is set with a huge emerald and has little intrinsic value but is considered spiritually priceless by Catholic leaders.

German police said at the time of the theft: “For the Catholic church, the value of this religious object is not quantifiable.”

It was stolen in June last year when thieves smashed their way into a display cabinet in St Oslwald’s in Traunstein.

Pope Benedict, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, grew up in the area and studied for the priesthood in a local seminary

The suspect, who has not been named, reportedly denies the charges.

He handed himself in to Czech police last October (2023) after Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for him.

The crucifix has not been recovered and a reward of EUR 1,000 {GBP 853) has been offered for information leading to its return.

Christoph Kappes, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Munich, said: “The pectoral cross was bequeathed by Pope Benedict XVI to his native Bavarian parish after he stepped back from his papal role in 2013.”

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush lead the celebration of the 81st birthday of Pope Benedict XVI as he’s presented a cake by White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at the White House. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The crucifix had pride of place in a museum dedicated to the Pope, who died in December 2022 aged 95.

St Oswald church is where the Pope took his first mass as a newly qualified priest in 1951.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.

Story By: Marija Stojkoska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash

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