March 4th, 2012
11:18 AM ET

900-year-old saint's heart vanishes from cathedral

By Richard Allen Greene and Peter Taggart, CNN

Police in Ireland are studying security camera footage from a cathedral in Dublin after the preserved heart of the city's patron saint was stolen over the weekend, they said Monday.

The 900-year-old heart of St. Laurence O'Toole was taken from the iron cage where it is normally kept in Christ Church Cathedral, police and the Cathedral said.

The bars were wrenched open, allowing access to the heart-shaped wooden box that held the relic bolted to a wall in Saint Lauds Chapel, Irish police said.

Security cameras cover the cathedral's welcome desk, but not the interior of the chapel or the cathedral, police said.
The heart disappeared between Friday evening and Saturday noon, police said.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Cathedral staff called the disappearance of the relic "truly awful and strange" and said they were "shocked and saddened."

An empty cage once held the heart of 900-year-old saint.

Adding to the mystery, there was no sign of a break-in, police told CNN.

Nothing was taken from the chapel other than the heart, although Irish media said gold candesticks and other valuables were there.

Cathedral staff called the disappearance of the relic "truly awful and strange" and said they were "shocked and saddened."

St. Laurence O'Toole, an archbishop of Dublin in the 12th century, was born in 1128, lived until 1180, and was made a saint in 1225, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Christ Church is a Protestant Church of Ireland cathedral.

Catholics often preserve body parts from saints, believing they should be venerated. When Pope John Paul II was declared "blessed" - a step below sainthood - last year, a vial of his blood was displayed as a relic.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Ireland

soundoff (938 Responses)
  1. Eat me I am GOD

    Anyone ever think that there is a "Not so smart" Irish kid out in the back yard with his pants half-down to his knees , a high-volt battery charger and a half crocked smile on his face for a few mins, Making that poor old heart go THUMP-THUMP-THUMP........

    March 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  2. cantusInfirmus

    what? the reliquary is shaped like a valentine? you kidding me?

    March 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Sam

    It was Indiana Jones.

    March 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  4. stupid people believe what they don't understand because they don't read, or don't know how - which is worse?

    I may be cruel, but you shall love me as God. In the word of God. Praise be to God. And all that mumbo jumbo. Thanks be to me for reminding you that even God hates you. So smile and remember, under his tyranny you will never be free! Quote any part of the Bible you like, it will make no difference. If you believe in God then the history of God is your basis for belief. How can one make claims to without full knowledge of? With full knowledge how is it that any believe unless they already harbor hatred for a great many? Answer – most have never read the Bible. Those who have made one of two choices – ratiionalize it and believe based on interpretations or deny it and not believe. What do you get from this?

    March 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  5. GodPot

    "Excuse me Doctor, I know that guy on the motorcycle just died, but can I have his heart, I'm planning on putting it in a wooden box and letting people pray to it so that it heals them."


    Why is this not seen as crazy by everyone? Is the desire to believe so strong that these people willing alter their perception of truth and fact so that it can fit with their perception of faith? And if you accept any claim of faith healing with no evidence must you not also accept all claims? Is the talisman that the voodoo witch doctor uses really any different than a dried up old heart?

    March 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  6. Patrick

    My life turned around when I quit praying "give me" and realized what I really had and prayed "thank you." Thank you and I trust that all I have and all that I need is being provided. I pray, when I am angered, that I forgive. Those who stole our heart, I forgive you because we will always have it, because we always knew it.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Thank you and I trust that all I have and all that I need is being provided"

      Funny how that's not working out for so many around the world left starving and dying.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  7. homar

    i am so saddened by the comments of the great majority. i did not realize that humanity had really fallen so far. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

      Most atheist posting are former Christians, so they are fully aware of what they are doing. It's time the world gets rid of your cult.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  8. homar

    nah, you're an utter disgrace to your creator. soon enough you will see the errors of you ways and your militant atheism that has utterly ruined this beautiful creation. i pray for your soul and all the like-minded souls. i would love to be in your presence when the truth of you God is revealed is revealed to your soul. that will be a terrifying moment for the likes of you.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Huh?

      "would love to be in your presence when the truth of you God"

      Won't happen because your god doesn't exist.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • GodPot

      So if it's the atheists who are ruining the planet, why does it seem like so many of the tree huggers and humanists tend to be atheist or agnostic while the corporate fat cats who are profiting from the r a p e of our world tend to be Christian or at least religious? On one hand you have humanists who believe we are the only ones who can save our planet from ourselves, while on the other hand you have religious zealots who believe they can take anything and everything this planet has to offer since it was "promised" to them as God's people, and then they believe they can walk away in "rapture" to leave the ruined earth behind for someone else to clean up.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Which god would that be? Yours, right? How did I know the answer to that!

      March 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • TR6

      Your threats of damnation are as empty and imp0tent as your nonexistent god

      March 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • momoya

      A distinct pleasure to read your post, Godpot!! If only the whole world (especially america) would realize the truth to what you say.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "i would love to be in your presence when the truth of you God is revealed is revealed to your soul. that will be a terrifying moment for the likes of you."

      You would delight in people being terrified? How xtian of you

      March 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  9. Nah

    that: "If you silly religionists weren't trying to cram your irrational delusions down everyone else's throats ... However, you have a tendency to try and vote in demagogues, deny people their rights, fly planes into buildings and shoot doctors, just to name a few of the atrocities your type is guilty of. So, yes, we are going to continue to belittle and mock you until the day you become decent members of society or the power of your little belief clubs are completely neutered."

    The irony in your response is astounding, really.

    First, your argument is akin to calling all African-Americans criminals because some African-Americans commit crime. Trying to pin religious atrocities that occurred in other countries, by other people, or which happened 500 years ago, onto modern Christians is beyond absurd.

    Second, your criticism about voting "demagogues" and ideologues into office is irrelevant. Why? Because atheists do the same. Liberals do the same. Conservative do the same. Every person who has a political opinion and advocates for some legislation wants to "force" their views onto the rest of society. Namely by forcing everyone - under threat of law - to do or not to do something.

    Now since you're an atheist deep thought is, of course, foreign to you, but try to keep in mind that fallacies do not make sound arguments.

    "So, yes, we are going to continue to belittle and mock you until the day you become decent members of society or the power of your little belief clubs are completely neutered."

    My my. So open minded and tolerant. tsk tsk.

    March 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • PIP


      March 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Jesus

      –The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.–

      March 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Sure, just look at prayer and religion does in Afghanistan. Religion is a virus of the mind.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • just sayin

      Don't study studies that have been proven wrong, study God.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • TR6

      If prayer really changes things why don’t you pray for all us atheists to convert to your religion? Go ahead and do it. I’ll let you know if it worked

      March 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  11. BK Nwoha

    That Jesus Christ once existed can't be denied. Even the stiffest atheistic historian would attest that. The only thing we may doubt is if he's God or not, because that falls into the domain of Faith. That Jesus existed and that he founded the Catholic Church shows the veracity of this enterprise called the Christianity. Christianity was founded over 2000 years back, but despite a very unfriendly, and violent history targeted against her, Christianity is still alive and keeping. That's not surprising because Jesus himself said that He will always be the church and that no power on earth can stand against her.

    So, for those insulting the Church and her practices, your opinions and hatred can't and would never do anything to the smallest sand of the wall of the Church. That explain why the Catholic Church is still the world strongest and most influential group of the world. Nothing on earth or in hell can stand against it. The Devil bows in fear before the Church, not to speak of those of us who are posting mockeries against the Church.

    March 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • TING

      The historical Jesus was not the founder of the Catholic Church. He was dead. Now if you're talking about the resurrected magical hocus pocus Jesus, then I guess you could be right.

      March 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • ks

      The church Jesus Christ established is not the Catholic church, but a totally different non-demonitional church, with Christ as the head not the Pope.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • FifthApe

      When you understand why *you* reject all other religions, you will understand why I reject yours.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • gerald

      ks – and which of the 10,000 nondenominational denominations would that be? Or did the gates of hell prevali against it? If it had Peter the rock the gates of hell would not have prevailed.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      You can get one of those cages at Home Depot.
      As for Jeebus starting a religion...if he did intend that, why did his brother James and the other eye witnesses have such a HUGE fight with St. Paul about that ? They just wanted to be good Jews. Jeebus NEVER thought he was "starting a church", because, duh........, there was no such THING as a "church" back then. The fact that there might have been a historical Yeshua bar Josef proves nothing. Everything about him, and what he was reported to have said or done is INTERPRETATION, by later people, with "axes to grind", and "points of view". BK, you need to go get an education.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  12. Amanda

    I am absolutely disgusted with the responses I am seeing on this site. Just because something like the heart of a Patron Saint does not mean anything to you does not mean it means nothing to someone else. It would be the equivilent of someone breaking into your homes or your places of worship and removing something that only means something to you and those who believe the same. I think this is the most disrespectful thing anyone can do, who cares if there is a monetary value to it or not. Some of you need to grow up and hopefully someday God will forgive you and your lack of Faith.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Dee

      Totally agree Amanda. My husband thinks it's demonic. what is the world coming to?

      March 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • gerald

      Tolerance and freedom of religion are loosing there place in america. Soon they will be gone.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • just say'in

      "Tolerance and freedom of religion are loosing there place in america. Soon they will be gone."


      March 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Oh, Shirley, it's just disgusting. Go get Mabel, and let's have a good cluck about it.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • TR6

      @Dee:” My husband thinks it's demonic.”

      He thinks stealing it is demonic?! What about cutting out a persons heart and hanging it up on the wall for 900 years? I suppose you have several in your living room, just like all your frends?

      March 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  13. Reality

    Just another case of the following:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No "saint's heart, relics, koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  14. Christianity is not healthy for children and other living things

    Christianity takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Christian prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Christianity prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Christianity makes you fat.
    Christianity wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Christianity contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Christianity fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Christianity can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Christianity reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Christianity exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Christianity makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Christianity makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Christianity makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Christianity gives you knobbly knees.
    Christianity makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Christianity dulls your senses.
    Christianity makes you post really stupid shit.
    Christianity makes you hoard cats.
    Christianity makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Christianity wastes time.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • heather

      yessss! this is hilarious, you are awesome

      March 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • BK Nwoha

      You are definitely embittered. While, you are in Anger, Christians are swimming in Joy (despite their worldly sorrows). Despite all what you said, CHRISTIANITY makes Man reach the utmost state of happiness, because God made us all, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.

      March 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • gerald

      My that was a waste of time.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • just say'in

      "My that was a waste of time."

      Yet you took the time to comment and read it – what an idiot.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  15. momoya

    maybe it's somebody's way of telling the church that they need a nicer mounting/bracket/chain/whateverthehe.llthatis.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Al

      It's called a thingamajig.

      March 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Nonimus

      nomen rescio

      March 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  16. FifthApe

    To think that in 2012 the human species still has members that value body parts in such a ghoulish way and think that the dead owner performed miracles post death brings me to tears. People – bronze aged myths about talking snakes are not real. Grow up!

    March 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Kalessian

      I more appauled that someone would steal a body part.

      March 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Nah

      fifth: "People – bronze aged myths about talking snakes are not real. Grow up!"

      Brilliant rebuttal! An ad hominem couched in the center of a circular argument!

      Myths are wrong because they're myths! And they're myths because they're wrong! And they're wrong because they're old!


      "bronze aged myths"

      Yeah, like other Bronze Age myths like Euclidean Geometry, physics, astronomical calculations, and so on.

      What's that you say? The mere fact that something came out of the "Bronze Age" doesn't mean it's false?

      Dear me!

      March 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Nah said "Yeah, like other Bronze Age myths like Euclidean Geometry, physics, astronomical calculations"

      I would argue these are not myths. You and I can sit down and go through them and see how they can be proven. The same can't be said about:

      Definition of Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

      This is a myth. Can you understand the differences? I hope so.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Yeah, like other Bronze Age myths like Euclidean Geometry, physics, astronomical calculations, and so on."

      It can be shown that the story of Christ was taken from other pagan religions during that time period which where myths.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  17. sam

    It was a Nirvana fan.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • james

      no dummy! it was the tin-man. 🙂

      March 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  18. Bosda Di'Chi

    I suspect that the thief **does** believe, insofar as the relic would be utterly worthless to anybody else.

    Unless he wanted a 400-500 year old DNA sample, of course, & there are easier ways to get *that*!

    March 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • jimtanker

      He only has to "believe" that he can get some money out of it.

      March 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  19. Annrafnk

    Idol Worshipers ! Pagans !

    March 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Burl

      If you can think of enough names to call people will it make you feel better?

      March 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. plenty

    call Tom Hanks, he can solve the crime

    March 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Nonimus

      hmmm.... blood line of Jesus?

      just kidding.

      March 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.