Friday, June 07, 2024

Brother of ‘Vatican girl’ blasts papally-ordered inquest as a ‘farce’

Pope wants light shed on 40-year-old missing Vatican girl mystery | TVP  World

Pietro Orlandi, the brother of a 15-year-old girl whose 1983 disappearance remains the most notorious unsolved Vatican mystery of the 20th century, has called a new Vatican investigation of the case announced in January 2023 a “farce.”

“I had great enthusiasm for this investigation,” Orlandi said June 4. “Unfortunately, I’ve come to understand that for me, sincerely, that investigation is a farce. They’re not doing anything.”

“I asked people close to Pope Francis to ask the pope, who requested this investigation, if he’s aware of what the people to whom he entrusted it are doing, because it’s the exact opposite of what they should be doing,” he said.

Orlandi’s comments came during a June 4 public event in Milan, where he appeared during a discussion of Italy’s femicide crisis along with Father Patrizio Coppola, a well-known Italian priest known as “Father Joystick” for having founded a video game development academy for at-risk youth.

The discussion was moderated by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who was once indicted by a Vatican tribunal for his role in the “Vatileaks” affair.

The fate of Emanuela Orlandi, who vanished after a music lesson in the heart of Rome in June 1983, long has been associated with the Vatican because her father was a minor official in the Prefecture of the Papal Household under Pope John Paul II and the family lived in an apartment on Vatican grounds.

The case returned to prominence in part thanks to the success of a 2022 Netflix miniseries titled “Vatican Girl.”

In January 2023, following the initial release of the miniseries, the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice, Italian lawyer Alessandro Diddi, announced that he was opening a new investigation at the direct request of Pope Francis. At around the same time, the Procurator of Rome, Francesco Lo Voi, also opened a new probe.

Earlier this year, the Italian parliament voted to launch its own inquest, coupling it with the similar case of Mirella Gregori, another teenage girl who went missing around the same time. So far, the panel has heard from family members of the two missing girls as well as journalists who have covered the cases over the years.

“There are three investigations, and that’s no small thing because there have never been three contemporary investigations like this,” said Orlandi, who’s dedicated his life to the search for the truth about his sister and other cases of Italian missing persons.

Orlandi said that while he has faith in the parliamentary probe, he’s lost confidence in the Vatican’s investigation.

“When I was heard [by Diddi], with great enthusiasm, I suggested a number of people who could truly provide a step forward, but they haven’t been called after more than a year,” Orlandi charged.

He claimed that, based on a brief encounter with Pope Francis shortly his election in 2013, the pontiff knows more than he’s revealed.

“When we met in 2013, in that famous meeting, he told me ‘Emanuela is in heaven.’ He said it to me and my mother after Mass at St. Anna, with other people around,” Orlandi said, recounting a story he’s told many times in the past.

“It was a delicate way of saying that Emanuela is dead. I asked his particular secretary, and the Secretary of State, to have a very private meeting, because for the pope, as a head of state, to say that Emanuela is dead means he knows something more than the family does. There’s never been the possibility,” Orlandi said.

Pointedly, Orlandi charged all three recent popes – John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis – with failing to get to the bottom of his sister’s case.

“[The response] should be rooted in the teachings of the person who’s at the basis of Christianity, Jesus Christ, no? What are those teachings? Truth, justice, and the idea that there’s nothing to hide, nothing secret that shouldn’t be revealed,” Orlandi said.

“These are three things they just can’t deliver. Pope Francis, Pope Ratzinger and John Paul II, with their attitude, have betrayed the teachings of Jesus Christ,” he said, drawing applause from the crowd gathered in Milan’s Manzoni Theater.

In late May, a cousin of Emanuela Orlandi, Pietro Meneguzzi, testified before the parliamentary panel, rejecting complicated conspiracy theories involving international plots and encouraging investigators to focus on leads which are “more down to earth, and more serious,” principally the possibility that Emanuela had been targeted by a sexual predator.

Mehmet Ali Ağca, who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in May 1981 and who has long hinted that Orlandi’s disappearance was somehow related to his situation, has asked to be heard by the parliamentary body.

The 66-year-old Ali Ağca claimed in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he’s ill with cancer, and wants to “liberate my conscience” and “reveal the historical truth about the disappearances of Emanuel Orlandi and Mirella Gregori, against too many lies that are going around.”

Senator Andrea De Priamo, who heads the parliament panel, has responded to the request with a letter to Ali Ağca’s attorney asking him to clarify why exactly he should be heard.