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From Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis Defends Saint John Paul II Publicly

It was in the month of March that open attacks against Saint John Paul II increased in Poland. The attempt was to stain his image associating it to alleged bad handling of three cases of priests who were involved in sexual abuses against minors. The propaganda platforms were a TV program, a book  (a complete analysis can be seen here). Millions of Poles, conscious debtors of that Pope, took to the streets to defend not only the ecclesiastical figure of the Pope but also Wojtyla’s historical figure, to whom to a large extent they owe their present freedom (an article in this connection can be read here). With the passing of the days, the lies are being dismantled. 

However, while matters were being appeased in Poland, in Italy a lie about John Paul II was in the making. A case  seemed suited to it: that of Emanuela Orlandi who disappeared. She who Netflix calls “the girl of the Vatican,” which has all the ingredients to associate to a scandal without proofs. 

In January 2023 Pope Francis decided to open the possibility for Emanuela’s brother to reopen the process with the Promoter of Justice of the diminutive State. The intention was to clarify the facts, despite the fact that previously the fanciful musings of Emanuela’s brother were followed (such as opening a tomb in the Teutonic cemetery and an exhumation in the Holy See’s Nunciature to Italy, without succeeding in finding Emanuela). The process ended in April 2020. Three years later, with the help of the visibility that the Netflix documentary possibly gave, the case was finally reopened by the same Pope during whose pontificate it was closed. 

Emanuela Orlandi

On April 11, Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, went to the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice, Alessandro Diddi, and gave his testimony for several hours. Then, he made statements to the press “venting” his feelings. That same week, he went before the television cameras, something he does frequently, and insinuated an infamy against Saint John Paul II, saying that the Pontiff went out at night not, in fact, to bless houses (video here). 

Accusations of this sort, without proofs, compelled the Promoter of Justice to call Mr Orlandi’s lawyer, Laura Sgro, who claimed professional secrecy, in order not to disclose the source of the proofs of her client and she sent communique’s to the press, which the press, including the secular press, no longer take seriously. 

It was all this spectacle which moved the Director of the Vatican’s media, Andrea Tornielli, to write the following in the Italian edition of Vatican News:

“(…) no one deserves to be calumniated this way, without even a shred of evidence, based on “rumours” of an unknown personage of the criminal world or on some bad quality anonymous commentary broadcast live on television (full article in Spanish here).

Given that Mr Orlandi is a frequent guest of chat programs which he attends to keep the media’s attention on this case, and given that he has not retracted his fallacious statement, this Sunday, April 16, Day of Divine Mercy, Pope Francis came out with these forceful words:

And, certain that I interpret the sentiments of all the faithful worldwide, I direct a grateful thought to the memory of Saint John Paul II, object, these days, of offensive and unfounded accusations.”

The reopened case continues, despite its course. Mr Orlandi continues to have statements made by anyone who wishes to do so. Meanwhile, so far as is known, the Orlandi Family enjoys a house inside the Vatican — very close to the Vatican’s Apostolic Almonry, where they make the scrolls. 

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance. In Nico Spuntori’s opinion, “the reopening of the Orlandi case is a media storm.”