LONG BEACH (CBS) — A 780-year-old religious relic of the patron saint of lost causes and missing objects was stolen from a Catholic church near Los Angeles on Monday, just hours after it was put on display to commemorate the feast of St. Anthony, police said.

The relic, which is only brought out on special occasions, was stolen from inside a cabinet beside the altar at the St. Anthony Catholic Church in Long Beach on Monday morning, police Lt. Paul Arcala said.

The Reverend Jose Magana said he decided to bring out the relic this year, on the 780th anniversary of the death of St. Anthony, because many of his parishioners have lost hope in the rough economy.

“It has no financial value, but it’s our history, so it’s irreplaceable,” Magana said. “It belongs to the church, not just the church here in Long Beach, but the entire Catholic church.”

The church opened at 6 a.m., and when Magana turned to the relic during the 9 a.m. Mass, it had disappeared. Magana could hear his parishioners gasp when they realized it was gone, but he continued with the service and called police immediately afterward.

Arcala said the relic is housed in a 16-inch tall case with angel-shaped handles made of gold and silver on either side. He declined to describe it further because that might jeopardize the investigation.

The last time it was on view was eight years ago, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the parish. In Catholicism, relics are usually part of a saint’s body or clothes, revered as a physical connection to the saint.

While church members are upset that someone would steal a holy object, their faith is still strong.

“They said, `Father, he’s the patron saint of lost causes, so he’ll come home,”‘ Magana said.

Police are looking for a person of interest who was curious about the relic earlier Monday morning, got too close and had to be asked to step away, Arcala said. The woman was in her late 30s and was short heavyset with wavy, shoulder-length black hair.

“I’m hoping we’ve got some higher sources who’ve got our backs here and we can get it back,” Magana said. “People here are pretty upset but they’re praying. They’re praying to St. Anthony for the return of his own object.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (222)
  1. Larry Badten says:

    Amazing how many Catholics are lying to us and themselves here. I’ve watched with my own eyes, Catholics on their knees before their idols and praying to them by name. This done right in front of many other Catholics and their priests. You can lie to yourself about this one, but not me. I’ve witnessed it.

    1. Dee says:

      When I think about how Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship an idol in the OT, I can’t help but think the CC is very wrong to encourage people to pray to ‘saints.’ I see now that they are just saying they are honoring the saint, but praying to them, really? That’s worship.

    2. r.s.j. says:

      Just because you’ve seen something does not mean that you know hoe to interpret what you are seeing.

      1. Larry Badten says:

        This is one of the most ignorant statements that I have ever heard. I damn-well do know how to interpret something so blatant. Thanks for trying though.

  2. jasperddbgghost says:

    Can we get a description including skin color?

    Like we really need to guess…

  3. discovega says:

    Thou shalt have no other gods before me
    Thou shalt have no engravin images
    Catch a clue people, lose all the engravin images, youwoul dbe doing what God asked of you…unless of course you don’t want to do what God asks.

  4. St. Joseph says:

    The Biblical directive is to not even make such things. It’s best that it’s gone. The faithful at St. Anthony’s can now direct their “veneration” to God alone – where it belongs.

    1. rory says:

      the bible is abook written, editted, and altered by hundreds of men over 1000s of years before being codified.

      Whatever it says is irrelevant. Get a life

  5. Topheh says:

    I always keep this in mind:

    “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church….As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.” ARCHBISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN

    1. St. Joseph says:

      Nice deflection. Yeah, we know – it’s all just a big misunderstanding. Child molesting, sorry – our bad. We just misunderstand. Bilking the faithful? Ooops, sorry, just misunderstood. Protecting the church so that not one cardinal or bishop that was involved comes to justice, wow – again, sorry – my misunderstanding. It’s all good….really.

      No – I understand. It’s you who misunderstand. I DO hate child molestation, and lying, and criminals. So don’t tell me that I misunderstand the RCC. I understand it all too well.

      1. Brad says:

        Hey, thanks for Casting the First Stone!

        Jesus surrounded himself with prostitutes, thieves, liars, traitors and cowards.

        And what a shame you weren’t around back then … you could have lectured Jesus about the deficient people He selected to run His church.

      2. St. Joseph says:

        Sorry Brad – that doesn’t cut it. Jesus also came to heal the sick. The first step is to get the sick to SEE they’re sick. All of that “casting the first stone” malarkey you rely on is just denial. I’m not looking to punish anyone, which was what the Pharisees were doing, and is what you refer to. I’m just calling like I see it. If you want to ignore the issues, that’s your business. All I’m saying is that the Catholic Church has a lot of bigger issues than worrying about a relic.

  6. St. Joseph says:

    It’s best it’s gone. Venerate God, not idols.

  7. rory says:

    The bible was the decided upon interpretation of a myriad of oral histories passed down through generations of ancients who knew nothing of science, pyschology, biology, etc. It has been editted, changed, modified, and otherwise altered before being codified in the 4th century. Many books were discarded, others were included….

    It’s a joke people consider it a source of ‘truth’.

    1. Brad says:

      Always amused at how desperate atheists are to impose their belief system on others.

  8. Harold Kint says:

    Don’t be so mean spirited, people. The person who took the relic was merely using the precious metals to feed and reunite their family.
    Timing of the relic’s display and the person’s need was divinely inspired, probably..

  9. Primetime Editorials says:

    this is so sad
    I hope they find the relic
    is this a hoax?

  10. Bob Dobbs says:

    It is all superstitious nonsense. There is no Yahweh, Zeus, Odin, or God in general.

  11. Kevin says:

    Hey Cliff, I got some news for you…Catholics don’t worship relics or idols either. Only God gets worshiped by Catholics. The Holy Mother and the saints get adoration but they are NOT worshipped.

    1. Dee says:

      So where in the Bible does it say to pray to Mary? Also, there is no need for priests because Jesus was the last priest. It’s a shame the CC is not following NT Christianity. Read the NT and you will see that even many non-catholic churches are steeped in non-Biblical tradition, too.

  12. thywillbedone says:

    oh you misinformed heathen…
    A relic and or a sacremental IS NOT and idol and is not WORSHIPPED

    They are used as reminders and or supports , as something tangible to help in the worship

    1. St. Joseph says:

      If you need a reminder or a support to worship a God you claim you know, you’ve got bigger problems than can be addressed here.

  13. Richard says:

    Right, Father…it has no financial value…except on eBay.

  14. UrsusRexx says:

    “…The woman was in her late 30s and was short, heavyset, with wavy, shoulder-length black hair…”;
    …Anyone know where Olde Jo Ratzinger is? …Hoisting a tankard or three, down at the local N.A.M.B.L.A., (‘Tiber River’), Franchise?
    …a 780 y/o ‘relic’?
    What could it be? a used condom(s)? teeth? fossilized urethra? blind eyeball? No financial interest?
    The Catholic church NEVER pays attention to things of NO FINANCIAL INTEREST, L.O.L.!
    Maybe it has sexual, (…or ‘other’) fetishistic interest…

    BTW: Couldn’t the enterprising thief(-eves) have taken a few pedophiles, and/or, (‘look-the-other-way’) bishops, cardinals, pope, instead? The church certainly has plenty to spare!
    Hell, (no pun intended, L.O.L.!), clerical supervisors DON’T even notice when the police drag the black & white nastiies away, (‘perp walk’) for the media!

    1. Greg says:

      Get into therapy. Quick.

  15. Mike S. says:

    I hope that the relic is found and that Elihu doesn’t go to Hell for trolling this thread.

  16. yeshua alone says:

    It funny because I wonder if the idol will find itself, being lost and all. why can’t we pray to YHVH instead of gods made of stone or wood. ??

  17. proudnot2bliberal says:

    OK for all you haters out there blabbing along about idol worship I have a couple questions for you (& ill type slow so you can follow)
    1) When you say the pledge of allegiance to the flag are you worshipping the flag?
    2) If you served in the military or in Gov office you had to take an oath to uphold & defend the constitution. Were you worshipping the constitution?
    3) On the saints & the blessed mother. Was Mary the mother of Jesus? Was Jesus a good son? Now wouldn’t a good son listen to his mother? That is what we are doing when we “pray to’ Mary or other saints we ask that they intervene on our behalf since the “have the inside track” or Jesus’ ear? Its like asking for a trusted confidant of a powerful person to listen to us while he may hear us they are closer to him.

    1. Dee says:

      If the NT is true to say that God favors no man above another (meaning woman, too), how can you think Mary has a bigger ‘in’ with God. It’s as if the CC missed the whole point about the New Covenant. Please read your NT and ask God to reveal to you the way He wants His church to be. Don’t depend on religions that are steeped in man-made tradition.

  18. Midwest Mike says:

    The author is obviously not Catholic. St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of lost causes. This story brought out the religious nuts. If you are not Catholic, why do we care about your views on religious relics. The bible thumpers need to know the differences among the terms, worship, veneration, and idolatry.

  19. Barry Weavers says:

    Lets see, a relic associated with the patron saint of lost causes and missing objects. has gone missing, Ironic isn’t it. As a comedian once said “You Can’t make this stuff up! “

  20. Denis says:

    The wonderfully “Christian” fundamentalists use the occasion of a Catholic parish suffering the theft of one its precious possessions to push their anti-Catholic agenda. It kind of tells you where they are morally and spiritually. Folks, if the Catholics tell you that they don’t ‘worship’ but ‘venerate’ why do you continue to insist on callign them liars? Whatever your stand, you have to acknowledge that the earliest Christians celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy on the tombs of their martyrs, hence the tradition of worship in the presence of saints is one that goes back to earliest Christianity, which you fundamentalists supposedly respect.

    1. Brad says:

      I just worry for their souls .. I mean, seriously, what are they going to say when they face Jesus on Judgment Day .. “Hey Jesus, make sure you condemn all those evil catholics who venerated your mom. ” I mean, sheesh, I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere nearby when the response comes back.

      “For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

      1. Dee says:

        Mary is blessed because she bore Jesus! We celebrate this every Christmas. I seriously worry about the souls of those who think it’s okay to pray to Mary. Anyone you pray to is a god. Not good. Please, please read more of your Bible and try not to mix man-made tradition up with it.

  21. tim says:

    The catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded. Jesus never wrote anything down , (he traced his finger in the sand at the stoning of the the woman). People who believe the bible is the only source of revaluation about God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit, are just wrong. The Bible and Secrete Tradition carry equal weight and can not contradict each other.
    The Bible was put together by the Fathers of the Catholic Church and it was the only bible until Luther changed (excluded some books). Every day there is a new sect of Christian’s . (one sect was just warning of the end of the world). People have been trying to kill Christ Church (Catholic) for over 2000 years and every time they think they have succeeded it comes back stronger, Because as Christ told Peter the nether world will not prevail against it. (even if its own members try to kill it–bad priest and bishops and even Popes). So all the non- Catholic Christians I pray for you to come home. It is the Church that Christ founded and has the fullness of the truth

  22. sickofthebs says:

    im sick of bible thumpers spouting off bible passage and verse and acting holier than thou!!! the bible is a guide, it is not “the word of god”. it was written by a bunch of arab men decades after christ had died with only gospels included that fit their agenda.
    “do unto others…” isnt that one of the ten commandments?!? would you like it if someone was always getting in your face calling you a sinner, just because of some basic differences in religious philosophy then bashing you and your religion?!? why dont you practice what you preach?

    1. dee says:

      ‘Do unto others’ is not one of the 10 commandments (chuckle). If you want to really know about the Bible, please study it before making sweeping statements about what you think about how it came into it’s present form. You can’t really accuse people of being holier than thou when you don’t what they are discussing.

  23. elihu says:

    I sure annoyed the RC’s with those few posts didn’t I?! Heh. Now go buy a ‘Brown Scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel’, and wear it so you can be assured that your ‘holy mother’ will come and take you out of ‘purgatory’ on the first Saturday after you die. This is the RCC’s ‘Sabbatine Privilege.” I always kind of wondered why she would wait until Saturday to take you all out of the firey pit? I guess to teach you a lesson…too bad for you if you die on a Sunday; you’ll have to wait six more days! Whew! Rome really had to put there collective heads together to come up with that one. One of many, many, many…THINK PEOPLE!

    1. tim says:

      Elihu – why is there so much hate in your heart?

      1. Jeff in GA says:

        Because he was lied to in the name of Sacred Tradition, which comes from man, at the expense of Sacred Scripture, the word of God.

        He was hurt, and holds a grudge. i understand. I did too for years. However, at some point you have to let go and forgive as Christ commanded.

        SOME Catholics (mostly of a certain older generation) pray directly TO the dead, including Mary. Many, thanks to reformation within the RCC itself, have grown up to recognize that the (formerly held) doctrine of a “Co-Mediatrix” is not doctrinally sound. SOME Protestants can’t get loose from their understandable desire to attack doctinal error.

        Doctine divides for two reasons, one good one bad: it inflates the ego of the protestor, or it preserves the most important core beliefs of a faith from being corrupted by human, fallible, error. For my part, I will pray for the thief.

  24. steve meyer says:

    I hope this doesn’t have anything to do with “The Creation”

    लेखक डैन ब्राउन स्टीव meyer संत anthonys चर्च पिता mollinger

  25. Grateful Now says:

    I grew up Catholic and then studied the bible later in life. Unfortunately, there are many things that are unbiblical that are practiced in Catholicism including infant baptism. The bible is real clear….I’m grateful for being introduced to God through the Catholic school I attended but we never studied the bible.

    1. dee says:

      I’m so glad for you. I grew up protestant, but realized that even in many of the churches I was in, we practiced a lot of non-Biblical tradition. I keep reading the Bible and am so amazed at what I find! It’s good to know the truth, but discouraging to find that so many people think they know whats in the Bible from hearing a few sermons.

    2. r.s.j. says:

      “The Bible is real clear”……sure, if interpreting the bible were that clear, why are there 40k protestant denominations each claiming to correctly interpret the bible? There is’nt even a single verson of the bible. The bible is worth more than the paper that it is printed because the Catholic Church authoritavely determined the canon of scripture. Christ founed a church, the church compiled the bible. Christ did not found a printing house to print a single book The bible was NEVER intended to be the only authoritative of teaching. The deposit of faith is from scripture AND tradition

      1. Jeff in GA says:

        … and as your Tradition changes, so does the ground under your theological feet. Stick with the solid rock.

  26. Fubarus Surabuf says:

    As Jello Biafra once said, “If you love God, Burn a church”

  27. just sayin' says:

    I just spent an helf an hour reading these posts. Interesting how they are all man centered attempting to justify a man created denominational preference. No or little mention of God the Father, God the Holy Spirit (who, by the way , inspired the flesh of men to divinely wite the Word of God) and sparse mention of God the Son.

    Let me remind us that it’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus.

    “For the God who shone light into darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the
    the light of the knowlege of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” 2 Cor 4:6

    What a great day that will be when He allows me to see Him face-to-face and see Him as He really is!

    1. Robert C says:

      (1) when people are engaging in debate, its really not helpful to veer off the topic. Most of what you’ve said is basically true, in my opinion as a Catholic. And? Does the fact that some Catholics are responding to the ignorant interpretations of the Church (seen on this message board) mean that those Catholics are missing this point? No, this just wasn’t the topic.

      (2) Catholicism is by definition not a denomination. You may not agree with Catholicism, but the Church has held itself out as the Catholic (Universal) Church since the time of the Apostles and Church Fathers. The motivation behind the Catholic Church’s decision (through the authority of the bishops) in affirming both the Nicene Creed and the canon of the Bible was to distinguish itself as the true Church apart from Gnostic heresies.

      Thus, to say the Catholic Church is just a denomination is like saying the federal government in Washington is just one possible legitimate government. No–it purports to be THE Church. I can think of no Protestant denominations which purport to be THE Church. Thus, they are denominations. (For example–Mormonism is not a denomination because the Mormon Church considers itself THE Church. I disagree with this. But Im still not entitled to call it a denomination)

      Catholics do not consider the Church to be “man created.” It is for this reason that “denomination” is inaccurate. We consider it Christ created. We consider history and theology to support this proposition. So any defense of the Church IS all about Jesus.

      (3) Where does the Bible talk about the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, as intrinsically one person? Where in the Bible, does it talk about the Bible, or which books belong in it?

      Respectfully “Just Sayin'”, I think “non-denominationalists” are often well-meaning. But it is historically and theologically inescapable that you are a Protestant (=in protest of the Catholic Church’s authority as the Christ created Church). That’s fine. We can disagree. But don’t take for granted where that Bible came from and how it is that this book was canonized and preserved (literally against heresies) for over a thousand years before “Reformers” decided that some books didn’t work for them.

      I have nothing but love for my (misguided) Protestant brethren. Having great faith and passion for the Bible is always good. But this is an important debate. Its not just pedantic nit picking. So, if you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

  28. Armageddon Thru To You says:

    It’s the Catholic Church, who cares? It’s a pseudo-Christian cult that worships idols, dead humans, and worse. Watch David Hunt’s movie, “A Woman Rides the Beast” on youtube or just Google “Roman Catholic Church” and antiChrist

    1. r.s.j. says:

      …..This video coming from one of the 40k bable of protestant churches…..hmmmm. really convincing. This video is just as credible as any one made by another protestant that contradicts it.

  29. r. s. j. says:

    Hey Genius,
    Catholics don’t worship relics. If the revrence that Catholics seems like worship to you, it probably because you have a poor idea of what wosrhip is.

  30. Robert C says:

    What if I make the BIble my idol? I don’t recall “Sola Scriptura” in the Bible. “Sola” seems to exclude “Jesus Christ,” no?

  31. El Barto says:

    Long Beach is the center of parole offernders.

  32. rachel says:

    All of this fighting among Christians makes me sad. Why can’t we just agree to disagree about some issues and walk in unity on the important things?

  33. Brian H. says:

    Friends in Christ,

    Those 27 books of the New Testament that both Catholics and Protestants follow were chosen by the Catholic Church. To believe in “Scripture alone,” and yet denounce the Church who put that Scripture together, is something to consider.

    Also, as Christians we are instructed to “Love another,” so instead of spewing hateful speech toward each other, let’s instead pray for another, and discuss our differences cordially. When was Christ ever hateful? Never. He often denounced “the hypocrites” also. A person who calls him or herself a Christian and willfully behaves otherwise is being a hypocrite. We are all sinners, but arguing in favor of Christ with belittling and viscious speech is not at all what Christ wants of his followers.

    As Proverbs 15:1 says… A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

    God bless! 🙂

    1. Brian H. says:

      To be 100% clear so there is no misunderstanding, “chosen”and “put together” were carefully considered verbs, as those books were Divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and written accordingly. The Catholic Church chose which books were indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit, and thus put together the canon of the New Testament. The vast majority of Protestants base their beliefs on those very books, while denouncing the Church who determined their validity. I mean this as cordially and humbly as possible in an effort to invoke thought on the matter, not to stir up anger. Thanks 🙂

  34. Monty Python says:

    All this has given me a great idea for a film.

    We are all individuals.

  35. megunwiba says:

    excuse me as I ask for an intersession

    Hail Mary, full of grace.
    Our Lord is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among women,
    and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
    Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    pray for us sinners,
    now and at the hour of our death.

    1. Jeff in GA says:

      Megun, I appreciate the sentiment.

      You might want to look over Luke 16: 19-34.
      A parable direct from Jesus on the futility of asking the dead for intercession. This is the ONLY biblical example of prayers to the dead, or prayers for intercession through the dead, and as Christ illustrates, it is futile.

      Having said that, and observing that the phrase “mother of God” is nowhere in the bible, I’d say that Mary is the prime example of a Godly woman, to be admired and remembered reverently, and to serve as a model for all of us in accepting His will, Would that I had a tenth of her guts and strength.

      46 And Mary said:
      “(BA)My soul [ag](BB)exalts the Lord,
      47 And (BC)my spirit has rejoiced in (BD)God my Savior.
      48 “For (BE)He has had regard for the humble state of His [ah]bondslave;
      For behold, from this time on all generations will count me (BF)blessed.
      49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
      And holy is His name. – Luke 1, NASB (with Imprimatur, for my RCC bros).

      Love to all,

  36. FairfaxScythe says:

    The shrill comments against the Catholic faith makes me wonder about the source of anger from the comments’ authors. Are they simply threatened by the Catholic faith’s traditions and history, which they cannot control, much less understand? At the end of the day, we see once again that the great source of anger and hatred in the world comes from misunderstanding, ignorance and fear.

    The relic may or may not be found – that is beside the point. The Catholic faith will persist, because it offers its adherents a way both to deal constructively with this life on Earth, and to work towards a better life, in communion with the Almighty, afterwards.

    1. Jeff in GA says:

      Well said.

      Ignorance is no crime, but wilful ignorance is a shame, isn’t it.


  37. MikeyDe says:

    Why cant non-catholics just leave us alone. This is a free country, last time I checked. Well before Obama anyway. Its remarklable how tolerant people become when they need Catholics to fight thier wars for them. I’m married to a protestant and about once a week I have to explain that the medal around my neck isn’t idolatry. You folks need to get on with worshiping God in your own way. Remember the Roman Catholic Church has 1/3 of the people on earth in it.
    The number of Protestant denominations is countless, it seems you people can’t agree on anything except trying to tear us down. Now go away!

    1. Jeff in GA says:

      Hee hee, Mike, so one of you is convinced he/she is the “salt and the light” in the relationship, you’re just not sure which one?

      Buddy, this is indeed a free country, and this is a public forum, for better or worse protected to some extent by the 1st amendment. Don’t log on if its an issue. Best wishes to you and the wife – keep your medal and keep the dialogue open, friendly and loving. I married a Proddy myself, and it worked out just fine!


  38. Mark says:

    Don’t you ever wonder why this supposedly Christian church believes in these things? Sort of like voodoo or pagans, read On This Rock by Dave Leonard to learn some of the real secrets of Catholicism. I know it’ll shock you.

  39. Bill says:

    I’ll pray for its safe return but I have to wonder why it wasn’t put up at night and locked, just as the Tabernacle is. Any church I’ve ever been associated with would lock up the Tabernacle at night and also lock all church doors when the church wasn’t in use. Confessions would be heard in the church office or rectory if someone needed “after hours” assistance. I don’t blame the pastor or church staff for the loss but vigilance is always required when dealing with consecrated hosts or other precious items.

  40. steve meyer says:

    Hoe this doens’t have anything to do with “The Creation”
    लेखक डैन ब्राउन स्टीव meyer संत anthonys चर्च पिता mollinger

  41. I hope this doesn’t have anything to do with “The Creation” Project:

    लेखक डैन ब्राउन स्टीव meyer संत anthonys चर्च पिता mollinger

  42. Gregory Schwartz says:

    I am 60 years old, was raised Catholic, graduated from Catholic school in 1968. I left the Church for many years, just came back to Church about 3 years ago. I honor God (the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit). I pray to God every day. I pray to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and some of the saints to intercede for me. I do not think God is a jealous, nit-picking God. I am sure he is a loving, caring and understanding God of us all. I am sure he does not mind if I say a few prayers to His Mother and some of the Saints. Remember, repeatedly, in the gospels, Jesus said, “Your FAITH has saved you.” Too many people place human faults in God, God is not jealous or vain or petty. – gregg in Sarasota, FL

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