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Intro – The Vatican Leaks affair these days is exposing the Vatican to a new series of scandals and power struggles within the church. With this post we will start to unfold the several outrages in which the Vatican has been involved in the past 30 years. Starting from Emanuela Orlandi’s abduction, her possible connection with the paedophiles network in the Boston church, then the IOR (Vatican Bank) and the Banco Ambrosiano affair, with the murder of director Roberto Calvi, until the recent arrest of Pope’s butler Paolo Gabriele. We will show that possibly this stream of scandals might be all linked one to the other.

The Kidnap – Emanuela Orlandi went missing in mysterious circumstances the 22nd of June 1983. She was born the 14th of January 1968, she was just 15 years old. The teenager was a Vatican state citzen, daughter of a clerical assistant at the Papal House Prefecture. What at first sight looked like a “normal” teenager vanishing, soon became one of the most obscure scandal in Italian history, making Dan Brown a boring amateur with no imagination. The mistery had: the Vatican state, Italian Republic, Istituto Opere Religiose (Vatican bank IOR), Magliana criminal gang, Ambrosiano Bank and the secret services of several countries, starring as main actors. To this vanishing was also connected another disappearance, of another teenage girl in Rome: Mirella Gregori, vanished on the 7th of May and never founded as her Vatican coetaneus.   
Emanuela used to attend to music classes in Sant’Apollinare (take note of this Church name) square in Rome. The day of her vanishing, in the itinerary between the Vatican and the school, she met a stranger driving a green BMW, that offered her a job of cosmetic sales for Avon, with an exaggerated pay for one day of work. Emanuela answered that before to accept the job she had to ask to her parents. Around 7.00pm after leaving the class earlier than usual, she called home in order to inform them of the proposal, her sister told her that salary was too good to be real and that she felt suspicious on such an offer. That was the last contact Emanuela had with her family. After the telephone call she spoke with a friend, Raffaella Monzi with whom she stayed until 7.30pm chatting. After the two girls left each other the young girl was last seen in front of the Senate from a local traffic police officer to whom she asked where was Sala Borromini. The traffic police-man questioned by investigating officers said that she was together with a man tall 1m75cm, around 35 years old, with a briefcase  and a dark BMW. Other witnesses saw her jumping on that car. An identikit was drawn by the police and a ‘carabiniere’ identified in that draw Enrico De Pedis, member of the Magliana criminal gang. Strangely this wasn’t hadn’t any follow up in the investigations. Police thought that the criminal was abroad but it was very strange that any deeper investigation was done to verify the similarity with the Roman boss. As police thought at the beginning she was on a love escapade or something like that, the first searches has been done only by the family, wasting a lot of precious time.


Emanuela Orlandi and Mirella Gregori, both 15 years old: “Missing”


The Red-Herrings – The 25th of June after several not reliable telephone calls, the Orlandi’s received a call by a man that presented himself as Pierluigi, that said that his girlfriend met at Campo dei Fiori in Rome two girls selling cosmetic products. One of her said she was called Barbara and she had a flute in her hand and she wore astigmatic glasses and that she was ashamed of it. This looked helpful to the family as Emanuela was astigmatic and she used to play a flute. The following day Pierluigi during another call added other information about himself, he said he was 16 years old and that he was with his parents at the sea in a restaurant. He said ‘Barbara’ played the flute at his sister wedding but he refused to give more informations and details and also to meet Emanuela’s uncle. On the 28th of June a guy called Mario called.  He said he was 35 years old and he said he saw a man and two girls selling cosmetic products, one of the girl said she was called ‘Barbara’ and she was from Venice. When asked how tall she was he hesitate while in the background another man with strong roman accent, suggested him she was taller than Mario said. In a following call Mario said that the girl admit to have left home voluntarily. The family considering impossible the eventuality she escaped on purpose started to mistrust these calls. Many years later Mario was identified as part of the Magliana gang. One month later on Sunday the 3rd the Pope John Paul II made an appeal on Emanuela vanishing, officialising for the first time the hypothesis of a kidnap. The 5th of July a call was made to the Vatican press room. A man with a strong Anglo-Saxon accent (the press renamed him the “Amerikano”) said he was keeping Emanuela as a hostage, adding other informations were already been given by two other components of his gang: Mario and Pierluigi. He requested a direct line with the Vatican. He asked to free Mehmet Ali Ağca, the man that shoot the Pope in Saint Peter a couple of years before. An hour later the Amerikano called the Orlandi’s family and let them hear a girl voice on a tape-recorder. The girl said that she attended the Vittorio Emanuele II National Convitto School in Rome and that she was going to start scientific college in September, just like Emanuela. Few days later another mysterious call. On the 8th of July a man with middle east accent called a friend of Emanuela and told her they had her in their hands, stating that the family had 20 days to convice the Vatican to free Ali Agca, providing to the kidnappers a direct contact with Vatican State Secretary Agostino Casaroli. The 17th of July a tape was found in Rome. On it there was the request of the exchange between Ali Agca and Emanuela. Also recorded on that tape the voice of a girl that was beginning for help saying she was feeling very bad. The direct line with Secretary Casaroli was installed the day after. Few days later the “Amerikano” called Emanuela’s uncle asking him to make public the tape and to call Casaroli and ask him informations on a conversation he had with him two days before.

Monsignor Paul Marcinkus

Paul Marcinkus – In total “Amerikano”’s calls were 16, all of them from public telephones. Many were the requests but the man was never found and police were unable to open a real investigating track. On the 20th of Novemebr 1984 in their #20 comunication, the Turkish Grey Wolves (far right terrorists) declared to have both girls in their hands. This opened a Turkish track that was few years later  contradicted by Stasi (East Germany Secret Service) Officer Günter Bohnsack that declared the Eastern-German secret police sent several false letters to the Vatican in order to consolidate the theory that Emanuela was taken by the Turkish terrorists. Their goal was to push away hypothesis that Bulgaria was involved in the Pope attempt of assassination. The extraneousness of the Grey Wolves was late confirmed by a Magliana Gang repentant, Antonio Mancini, that in 2007 said that the girl kidnap was ‘their thing’ and one of them kidnapped her. In 2010 Emanuela’s brother, Pietro had a meeting in jail with Mehmet Ali Ağca, in which former terrorist confirmed him the hypothesis that the kidnap was organize within the Vatican, as stated in a call of the 5th of July 1983. He also named a cardinal, Giovanni Battista Re, believing he was informed of what really happened. One year later in a Tv show working on missing people researches Pietro told the program he spoke with the cardinal that dismissed all allegations, and declared to him he didn’t know anything about Emanuela’s fate. Many newpapers and books reported that the Head of SISDE (Italian intelligence) Vincenzo Parisi  considered that Amerikano’s description could correspond to Monsignor Paul Marcinkus, at that time President of Vatican bank IOR and heavily involved in the bankrupt of Banco Ambrosiano and the death of his director Roberto Calvi, found dead in London hanging under the Blackfriars bridge. In fact this man sounded Anglo-Saxon, knew better Latin than Italian (thinking he learned it after the Latin language), he was of an upper cultural level and with a knowledge of the Vatican and clerical world out of common. All this hypothesis could really fit to Marcinkus profile.


In-Depth Infos:

Click on each of the red words in order to open their related Wikipedia page.  

Source, Italian Books:

Raffaella Notariale, Segreto Criminale. La vera storia della banda della Magliana (Criminal Secret, the real Magliana gang Story)

Rita Di Giovacchino, Storie di alti prelati e gangster romani. I mistreri della chiesa di Sant’Apollinare e il caso Orlandi (High Priests Stories. The Sant’Apollinare Basiclica’s mysteries and the Orlandi’s case)

Vittorio Di Cesare, Sandro Provvisionato, Vaticano rosso sangue. (Red blooded Vatican)

Written by MarcoPres

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