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New book floats sensational theory: Vatican officials arranged child’s kidnapping

September 19, 2017

A new book by an Italian investigative journalist raises questions about the possible involvement of Vatican officials in the unresolved disappearance of a teenage girl in 1983.

Emiliano Fittipaldi, one of the two Italian journalists indicted in the “Vatileaks II” scandal, has drawn headlines for his forthcoming book about the case of Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, whose disappearance has never been explained. Exploring a sensational conspiracy theory, Fittipaldi has introduced a document which appears to be written by a Vatican official, detailing expenses involved in the abduction and housing of the Italian teenager.

The Vatican has dismissed the document as a fraud, and the underlying story as “completely false and without foundation.” There is no evidence that the purported Vatican memo is authentic; it is not signed, nor written on official stationery. The officials to whom it was addressed report that they had never seen it.

However Fittipaldi—who makes no effort to prove the authenticity of the document—argues that even if it is a fraud, only a vast internal conspiracy within the Vatican could explain why the document was prepared. He says that the document was found in the files of Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, his co-defendant in the “Vatileaks II” case.

Fittipaldi also says that the document, even if it is not authentic, must have been written by a Vatican official, since it shows an insider’s knowledge of Vatican affairs. That claim, too, is questionable. The document gives the wrong name for one leading Vatican official, and uses an incorrect form of address for another.

An official statement released by the Vatican press office lamented the “false publications,” saying that they add to “the immense sorrow of the Orlandi family, with whom the Secretariat of State reaffirms its solidarity.” However Pietro Orlandi, the brother of the missing woman, seems inclined to take Fittipaldi’s claims seriously. Orlandi observed that according to the mysterious document, Vatican officials arranged to have Emanuela taken to London and kept there for months.

Pietro Orlandi has in the past called upon the Vatican to release its full dossier on his sister’s disappearance. In 2015 a Vatican prosecutor said that the investigation into the “delicate and largely unresolved” case was still continuing.


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