Written by Matt Birkenhauer
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Monday, 27 January 2014

image for Breaking News from NPR: Pope John Paul II's Underwear Stolen from Reliquary

One of only three known pairs of underwear stained with what's said to be Pope John Paul II's dried urine was stolen over the weekend from a small church in the mountains of Italy's central Abruzzo region.

According to the BBC, the thief or thieves "left the collection box, but took a crucifix and one pair of underwear, which is stained yellow with urine that once leaked out of the late pope."

Reuters reports that the pope, "who died in 2005, loved the mountains in the Abruzzo region east of Rome. He would sometimes slip away from the Vatican to secretly drink with some of his cardinal buddies there."

According to Reuters:

"In 2011, John Paul's former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Diwizz, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff's unwashed underwear as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area and its fine wines. It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Pissa, near the city of Inconencia."

In May 2011, a reliquary in which a pair of John Paul II's underwear had been placed was displayed to crowds gathered in Rome on the occasion when he was declared to be "blessed" - a step just below sainthood.

John Paul II and Pope John XXIII are to be raised to sainthood on April 27.

The Vatican, of course, is reported to be really pissed over the theft.

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