by Tolu Orekoya
The Catholic church has had its share of woes over the last few years as allegations of child molestation and sexual abuse bubbled to the surface at missions and dioceses all over the world. While few cases have actually involved the Vatican proper, the scandals have been a source of deep distress within the church. The child abuse scandals have faded in recent years, and have almost been erased from public memory. The disappearance and investigation of the Emanuela Orlandi in 1983 has been re-opened for investigation, and has once again turned the church on its ear, as the Italian police try to get to the root of the mystery.
Emanuela was the daughter of a vatican member of staff who disappeared suddenly at the age of 15, and has not been seen since, and the Vatican’s top exorcist (they exist? I thought that they were the stuff of movies) Reverend Gabriele Amorth had come out accusing the Vatican of kidnapping the girl for sex.
Still, the Italian police has over the years investigated other possible suspects.
From the Huffington Post:
The Holy See was directly involved in the disappearance of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi in 1983, according to a contentious accusation by the Catholic Church’s leading exorcist. The Rev. Gabriele Amorth claimed that the girl’s kidnapping was a “crime of a sexual nature”.
“Parties were organized, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the ‘recruiter’ of the girls,” Amorth told La Stampa, according to a translation by The Telegraph. “The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle.”
Amorth, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II and has carried out tens of thousands of exorcisms, is no stranger to controversial public statements; according to The Sun, the exorcist has called Harry Potter the “work of the devil,” and has claimed “the devil was at work in the Vatican” when discussing the Catholic Church’s sex scandals.
Clues to the missing girl’s whereabouts had pointed in several directions, including toward a Turkish gunman who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II, The Telegraph reports.
On May 14, one rumor led Italian police to exhume the grave of Enrico De Pedis, a member of Rome’s Magliana mob who was killed in 1990, the Associated Press reports. A one-time girlfriend previously said De Pedis committed the kidnapping, and an anonymous call to a television show in 2005 suggested clues on Orlandi’s fate lay in the dead mobster’s tomb in Basilica of Sant’Apollinaire. A set of bones not belonging to De Pedis were found, but the identity of the remains has yet to be released.
The Vatican insists it has done everything in its power to help solve the mystery of the missing girl.