5.400 Dollar. This was the price tag on the skull of Pope Benedict XIII. A thief stole it in April 2000, and demanded a ransom.

The skull of a late Pope is now back to be adored and venerated in a Spanish castle.

In the latest indignity to befall his remains, Pope Benedict XIII skull was stolen in April 2000 from a remote village in north eastern Spain – and the thieves were demanding a ransom for its return.

The mayor of the village of Illueca, where the Pope was born, told a local newspaper that he had received two hand-written ransom notes in August demanding one million pesetas (USD 5,400 ) for the return of the relic.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to trap the thief at a rendezvous in a park in the city of Zaragoza but the culprit failed to make contact.

In this Spanish castle the skull of this pope was laid to rest.

Ransom notes demanded a redezvous with mayor Vicente Mayor Vicente said he believed the ransom notes were genuine and he expected to receive further instructions.

The remains of the Pope, who died in 1423, aged 95, have had an eventful history. His embalmed body was moved after his death to Illueca were it became famous for working miracles.

During the 18th Century War of Succession, all but the skull was destroyed by French troops.

Since then it had been kept in an urn in a palace in the nearby town of Savinan. It was only taken out once, three years ago during an exhibition in his honor, when it was insured for 50 million pesetas (USD 269,000), El Mundo said.

Pope Benedict XII, known popularly as Papa Luna, took part in the Great Western Schism which divided the Roman Catholic church between 1378 and 1409. El Mundo newspaper said in April that the theft represented a “pillage of the cultural and historical heritage of Aragon”.

Not in the blue moon anyone will be able to miss the message in the banner of Papa Luna.

The skull was finally returned. Here is a fresh picture from the castle taken i July 2010.  The two pictures of the skull, looks very different. May be because the skull has gone through a fresh processes of beautification after it was recovered?

Source: BBC.

My comment:

To have a bounty on your head, just got a deeper meaning.

The present pope pray in front of a box with claimed to be holy bones of "St. Augustine".
April 22, 2007. The present Pope burning incense in front of the box with bones.

The correct value of this skull must have been in dispute. The thief must obviously not have been aware of the amount the Spanish Catholics were willing to pay an insurance company for a trustworthy value certificate.

269.000 USD is a lot of money for a skull. Since the thief demanded a lesser amount, I guess the Catholic Church should hope and pray that the thief would never return the skull.

The skull of Papa Luna before a robber took it.

Another issue is the rest of the body of this controversial Catholic leader. It can not be found.

But the people who removed the skull, obviously must have used a shape item and cut the bony head off this crops.

Or is it possible that a Skull can surface from a lost body, just by it self?

The present pope seems to be of the opinion that collecting bones and skulls is a part of blessed activities of the “Holy Roman Catholic Church”.

On the pictures above, we can see Him adoring a box with “Holy bones”, i fact the Pontiff is praying in front of the claimed to be remains of “St. Augustine”.

The skull as it looks today. Is this the same skull as shown in the picture above?

The problem in regards to this box, is that the skull is missing. We are not sure if the skull was there, when the Catholics priest opened the grave of this man.

Or did they cut his head off?

And if the skull already was missing, who stole it?

Because if the bones are “Holy”, I guess the skull also is holy, wherever it might be found.

If you ever find an unclaimed “Holy skull”, please send it to the head of the Vatican.

Because if an Insurance company has accepted the value of the skull of Papa Luna to be a couple of hundred thousand dollars, we should expect a new gold rush. There is not a Roman Catholic grave yard that should not be turned up side down, to release insurance claims of unlimited values.

If the skull has been replaced by the thief’s, we are heading for another scandal in the Vatican: An Insurance scam.  Another issues will be if this skull continues be “holy”, even if it has been replaced.

The third issue might be the most interesting part of this story:

How can the value of the skull be so high? The Vatican claim that this skull is of an anti-Pope?

Who is right?

The Catholics in Spain, or their priesthood in Rome?