The Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin has reported a theft. Nothing new there. However, the item is not one of the golden chalices or crosses that are often targeted by thieves. Someone stole the preserved heart of St. Laurence O’Toole (also known as Lorcán Ua Tuathail).
Such holy relics have long been a part of the Catholic faith. As a Catholic, I never quite understood it, but (as we have discussed before) churches around the world display severed body parts of various saints. Indeed, there was once a roaring market for relics. I am less sure that this thief would find an easy fence to move this particular item. Unless this was for personal gratification, this would be a special order item like the order to steal the sign at Auschwitz.
O’Toole was Dublin’s archbishop from 1162 to 1180. He was the first true Irishman to hold that position and was deeply loved in Ireland. He campaigned against corrupt priests and was himself an ascetic who wore a hair shirt, never ate meat, and annually did forty days’ retreat in St. Kevin’s Cave on a precipice of Lugduff Mountain.
When he died on a trip to Normandy, he was reportedly asked about his will. He replied “God knows, I have not a penny under the sun to leave anyone.” It appears that some people thought he was under-reporting his assets since his heart is not the only thing removed upon death. His skull was brought to England in 1442 by Sir Rowland Standish and his bones interred at the parish church of Chorley in England, now named St. Laurence’s. The bones disappeared in the Reformation.
Source: Boston as first seen on Reddit.