Investigators are now searching for the thief who stole a relic from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and left with the sacred artifact unseen. The missing piece of the cross was first spotted by a janitor while performing his duties. Artifacts such as the one stolen are said to be able to fetch a high price on the market, but without verification of the object’s origin the thief will have a difficult time finding a buyer.
Boston’s Catholic Archdiocese has been praying for the safe return of a fragment of the cross as they wait for investigators to find the culprit. The object was one of the most treasured items of the Archdiocese, and churchgoers there are just as devastated by its loss as those looking over it.
Kevin J. O’Leary said in an interview with The Boston Globe that he was praying not only for the return of the object, but for the thief who stole it as well. The troubling act of vandalism and theft is the most recent the church has suffered, but he has high hopes that it will find its way back to its rightful spot.
Police have determined that there was no sign of forced entry to the chapel, so the prevailing theory is that the object was stolen at some point while the chapel was open. Police also noted that nothing else had been stolen, indicating this was a specific and targeted theft.
In looking at the potential motivation of a thief to steal a piece of the true cross, several theories come to mind. First, there is the possibility that the thief stole it with the intention of selling it to an interested buyer. If the buyer had not been established ahead of time, the thief would have likely not known how difficult such a relic would be to sell without some other item citing its authenticity. Second, the object was certainly too high profile to simply list on Ebay. Another possibility is that the thief was specifically commissioned ahead of time by a third party who wished to possess it for any of a number of reasons. There is also the possibility that the thief wished to use it either for themselves or a family member who was sick and needed a miracle and performed this as an act of desperation. There is also the possibility that the thief stole the object as an act of pure vandalism or for the attention. And one of the darker possibilities suggests the object may have been needed as a component to some other end. A number of these possibilities cite a high chance for the object to be returned, though there are other possibilities.
High profile thefts have happened throughout the history of the church and often end with a desirable outcome if not for the thief, than for the victims of the crime. Still, the way the Boston cathedral is handling the matter is not unusual. In the meantime, it stands to reason that the thief will likely be troubled by their deed in the mean time.