Pectoral cross stolen by Pope Benedict from Traunstein church – Bavaria

The showpiece had its place of honor right near the main portal of St. Oswald’s, right next to the stand with the newsletters, information booklets and church magazines. The cash register with the small change for all these magazines was also broken into on Monday evening, but above all the glass pane of the display case, which was set upright in the wall there, was destroyed. And since then something has been missing from this showcase that is not only of inestimable importance for the Catholic parish of St. Oswald in Traunstein: the papal pectoral cross of Benedict XVI, which he gave to his home parish in February 2016, three years after his surprising withdrawal the highest Catholic church office.

It’s not the first theft from St. Oswald in recent memory. A few weeks ago, the historic offering box is said to have disappeared. This till for the donations of believers and church visitors was found again later. The golden pectoral cross of the Pope, whose value can hardly ever be matched by donations in the offering box, has disappeared.

On Monday sometime between late morning and late afternoon, the display case must have been broken open or prized open. This was announced by the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office on Tuesday afternoon, just as the eagerly awaited trial began at the Traunstein district court, just a few hundred meters from the town square and St. Oswald, in which the retired Pope Benedict was originally supposed to play a leading role.

A former altar boy from Garching an der Alz wants to use the process to sue for damages from the archdiocese of Munich-Freising, the former Garching pastor and the possible heirs of the pope who died at the end of last year. The later Benedict XVI. Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich was once responsible for the transfer of this pastor to Garching, although he had been a convicted abuser and was known to his church leaders as such. Because there are so far no heirs who could pay damages in Benedict’s place, the court separated this part of the process on Monday.

The pectoral cross of the late Pope Benedict XVI, stolen on Monday Until then it hung on its golden cord in a showcase in St. Oswald on the Traunstein town square.

(Photo: Bavarian State Criminal Police Office/dpa)

Whether the theft of the papal pectoral cross could be connected to the process was quickly the subject of numerous speculations. Neither church representatives nor the police or the public prosecutor’s office make any statements about this. The LKA is holding back with more information anyway, “for investigative tactical reasons,” as they say. Even the purely material value of the stolen goods could not be estimated on Tuesday. The LKA did not yet know whether the pectoral cross was made of solid gold or just gold-plated and whether the green stone in the middle was a real emerald or not. It is also unclear how resistant the glass of the showcase was. There were no additional security measures such as an alarm system.

According to the archdiocese, however, it is certain that Benedict had several such so-called pectorals. The now-stolen piece has been kept in the display case hanging by its gold-colored cord since the completion of St. Oswald’s recent renovation in 2020. According to an LKA spokesman, the thieves did not take this cord with them, but apparently removed the cross attached to a small carabiner.

On Tuesday afternoon, the church in which Benedict celebrated his First Mass in 1951 and in front of which a bronze bust of the Pope has stood since 2007, was freely accessible again. According to descriptions from Traunstein, the usual summer activity prevailed on the town square. In the town hall right next to St. Oswald, Mayor Christian Hümmer was initially “horrified” about the theft. The cross has “a high ideal value for the town and the town church of Traunstein”. He has full confidence in the work of the police and hopes that the perpetrator or perpetrators will be found quickly.

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