Pectoral Cross that Benedict XVI gave as a gift. Photo: Bavarian State Criminal Police Office

Thief of Benedict XVI’s pectoral cross captured: 1,000 euro reward for stolen cross

Ruling in the case of the missing pectoral cross of Pope Benedict XVI

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(ZENIT News / Traunstein, 05.14.2024).- In a significant turn in the case of the theft of Pope Benedict XVI’s pectoral cross, a 53-year-old man has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The district court of Traunstein, in Upper Bavaria, confirmed the sentence last Tuesday, May 7, following the news release by the Catholic News Agency (KNA) the previous night. The convicted man already had a prior criminal record, and although the sentence is not yet legally binding, it marks an important development in the case.

The cross, stolen in June 2023 from the parish church of St. Oswald in Traunstein, remains missing. During the trial, the thief stated that the cross was in the hands of an acquaintance and that he would do everything possible to ensure its return to Traunstein. The pressure of an international arrest warrant issued by Bavarian police led the convict to surrender to the police in his hometown in the Czech Republic.

In addition to the cross, the man also stole cash from the church’s magazine rack, causing total damages of approximately 2,000 euros. The pectoral cross, used for religious worship and of great spiritual value to many believers, measures between 10 and 15 centimeters, is made of gold-plated silver, and is adorned with several precious stones. While its exact material value is difficult to determine, it is estimated to be at least 800 euros.

The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office has offered a reward of 1,000 euros for any information leading to the recovery of the cross. Authorities urge anyone with relevant information to call (0 89) 1 21 20.

The emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who passed away on New Year’s Eve 2022, had bequeathed the cross to his former hometown parish, thereby increasing the sentimental and spiritual value of the object.

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