St John Henry Newman relic stolen

A relic of bone thought to belong to St John Henry Newman has been stolen.

The Birmingham Oratory publicised the theft on Sunday, saying the bone fragment had been taken from its casket in the Newman Shrine.

The fragment, some brass coffin handles and an inscription plate were the only remains found in Newman’s grave when it was excavated in October 2008.

According to the Franciscan Media, Newman (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) “was the 19th-century’s most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian.

“He spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both churches.”

Newman was canonised last October.

The theft of Newman’s remains is the latest in a spate of relic thefts in recent years.

In 2012, the heart of St Laurence O’Toole was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. It was discovered in a park six years later.

Five years later in 2017, Italian police recovered a piece of St John Bosco’s brain that had been hidden in a teapot. They said that the thief had “erroneously” believed the gold-painted reliquary over the glass jar was worth a lot of money.


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