From a vial of Pope John Paul II’s blood being stolen to Pope Francis’ doves of peace being attacked recently, a string of misfortune has hit the Catholic Church this week. The Washington Post reports this Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, that a rare and highly religious relic of the late Pope John Paul II was thieved from a village place of worship near Rome this Saturday, leading to a massive search for the thief and the raided goods. USA Today, meanwhile, also shares this morning that a pair of doves released during the close of the Vatican’s yearly “Caravan of Peace” ceremony were attacked in mid-flight by enemy birds, leading some to wonder if this string of events is a bad omen.
Having the blood of Pope John Paul II stolen sounds eerie in itself, but the sacred vial was only one of several valuable objects taken from a small church in Italy this week. Since the thievery, a tremendous manhunt has ensued for the missing artifacts that includes over 50 law enforcement officials and an expert team of search dogs that specialize in tracking. No details on the case have been made public yet.
It is believed that the break-in of the Church of San Pietro della Lenca occurred this Saturday. A local custodian had entered the place of worship and was said to be horrified to discover that a giant crucifix was stolen, some religious items, and a gold reliquary that held a vial of John Paul’s blood. Pope John Paul II will be officially proclaimed a saint of the Catholic Church this April 2014.
The Pope’s doves attacked was the other major misfortune to befall the Vatican’s reach this week. As Pope Francis was concluding the “Caravan of Peace” ceremony — which includes a tradition of releasing two doves into the air — two children joined him in releasing a pair of the beautiful white birds from an Apostolic Palace’s window. However, a black crow and sea gull quickly appeared and attacked the doves. The enemy birds could be seen pecking and clawing at the avian prey, leading some down in St. Peter’s Square to cry out in shock this Sunday.
Fortunately, both doves escaped from the dangerous clutches. One dove was able to break free from the attacking sea gull, losing only a couple of white feathers, while the other managed to free from the black crow. The extend of their wounds were not immediately made clear.
Whether it be a bad omen or simply bad luck for the Catholic Church, it was certainly an “unusual string of circumstances” facing Vatican realms recently and in such a short amount of time.