HOLY SMOKES

Stolen Vatican Documents Held for Ransom

The Vatican revealed on Sunday that it received a ransom demand from a former employee for 100,000 euros for the return of two rare documents by Michelangelo stolen 20 years ago. The theft had not been made public before Sunday’s announcement. A cardinal in charge of St. Peter’s Basilica had recently been contacted by the person offering the ransom, but the cardinal “naturally refused because these are stolen documents.” According to a Vatican spokesman, a nun in the Vatican archives notified officials in 1997 that the documents had gone missing. No details about the documents were disclosed, except that one has the artist’s signature.