Pope St John Paul II Pope St John Paul II 

Pope defends St John Paul II against ‘offensive and unfounded inferences’

After the Regina Caeli on Sunday, Pope Francis speaks about his predecessor, St John Paul II, saying he was “certain of interpreting the sentiments of the faithful throughout the world” and addressing “a grateful thought” to his memory.

By Vatican News staff reporter

After the recitation of the Regina Caeli on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke out about his predecessor St. John Paul II, who in recent days has been at the centre of slanderous accusations linked to the disappearance, 40 years ago, of fifteen-year-old Emanuela Orlandi. 

What happened to Orlandi remains an enduring mystery, especially in Italy, with numerous investigations by civil and church authorities. While conspiracy theories abound, very little definite information has been discovered.

Seeking the truth

In January of this year, the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice Alessandro Diddi announced that he was opening a new investigation into the case, partly in response to requests made by members of Orlandi’s family. In a public statement, Diddi insisted that Pope Francis has a strong desire “for the truth to emerge without any reservations.”

Earlier this week, Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, after meeting with Vatican prosecutors, appeared on an Italian television program. During the program, he played an audio recording containing a statement by an alleged mobster. The speaker in the recording accused the former pontiff of leaving the Vatican at night in the company of two Polish monsignors in search of young girls to victimize.

A show of support

The slanderous accusations were widely denounced, and Vatican officials quickly pointed out that no evidence or testimony backing up such accusations have ever been provided. In an Italian-language editorial, Andrea Tornielli, the Editorial Director of Vatican News, expressed his dismay: “It is sacrosanct that there be a full investigation to seek the truth about Emanuela’s disappearance. But no one deserves to be slandered in this way, without even a shred of evidence, on the basis of the ‘rumours’ of some unknown personage of the criminal underworld or of some sleazy anonymous comment broadcast live on TV.”

While Pope Francis has not directly addressed the accusations, his words on Sunday are a show of support for his predecessor. Insisting that he was “certain” of his interpretation of “the sentiments of the faithful throughout the world,” Pope Francis said, “I direct a grateful thought to the memory of Saint John Paul II, the object of offensive and unfounded inferences these past few days.”

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16 April 2023, 14:32