Will the Vatican Finally Be Investigated for the Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi?
ROME—Almost 40 years after a teenage girl whose father works in the Vatican disappear from an Opus Dei church in the Italian capital, her family may finally get some answers.
This week, Italian lawmakers filed a petition asking parliament to investigate the 1983 disappearance of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, a case filled with conspiracy theories that was recently the subject of the Netflix documentary series “The Girl” Vatican”. The four-part series has brought new attention to the case, with Netflix using original posters of the missing person posted all over Rome as an advertisement for the documentary.
The petition also calls for an investigation into the case of another missing girl, 15-year-old Mirella Gregori, who disappeared in Rome a month before Orlandi, and the murder of 21-year-old Simonetta Cesaroni, who was beaten to death in Rome in 1990 under suspicious circumstances. All three are the most talked about cold cases in Italy.
A similar petition will also be submitted to the Italian senate, which could easily pass if the new right-wing Italian government does not stamp it out.
Orlando’s disappearance has been linked to everything from the mob to the assassination of Pope John Paul II. There have been confessions, advice and numerous sightings, including one in an English monastery that turned out to be another false clue.
Parliamentary investigations, often passed to investigate organized crime and financial crime, are common in Italy. It is unclear if this will be passed by both houses of parliament, but if it does, it would send a clear signal to the Vatican that doubts still linger on the matter. As the Netflix series has pointed out, like many other documentaries over the past four decades, every road in the case seems to lead directly to the Holy See.
In fact, the three popes worked to appease the Orlandi family, whose matriarchy still lived in the Vatican apartment within the fortified walls where the family lived when Orlandi went missing. They excavated graves, unearthed archives and prayed with the family.
But the congressional investigation will require them to open archives, including phone records and people’s movements, in the days and months after Orlandi went missing. Several people called the hotline for advice, but the Orlandi family said that Vatican men answered calls in their private apartment in the days that followed.
The most repeated conspiracy in the case was that Orlandi’s father knew something he shouldn’t have known, and his daughter was taken as a warning. Other conspiracy theories include the theory that a local criminal gang invested their money in the Vatican Bank, used her to get their money back, or that the conspiracy was related to a visit to Ba Orchid of Pope John Paul II on the day of her disappearance, where she disappeared. he addressed a crowd of Solidarity followers (who were rumored to have been funded by Vatican money with mafia ties).
Opposition senator Carlo Calenda told a news conference on Tuesday that the investigation would show Italy’s strength before the mighty Holy See. “We must restore a principle that the Italian state has great respect for the Vatican and its role as a sovereign state over spiritual teaching but in no way submits to the Vatican state,” he said. “Italy is a secular republic based on popular sovereignty and equal interaction with the Vatican state.”
The Vatican, as its own sovereign state, will not be forced to comply with any subpoenas that may arise from an investigation. But Pietro Orlandi, the missing girl’s brother, who has worked all his life to keep her case alive in the media, said the pressure “can finally break the wall of silence.” quiet.”