Vatican tombs to be opened in search for remains of Emanuela Orlandi, teen missing since 1983

The family’s lawyer received an anonymous tip that Orlandi’s remains were buried in the small Teutonic Cemetery.

Demonstrators hold pictures of Emanuela Orlandi as Pope Benedict XVI reads a message during a noon prayer in St. Peter’s Square in 2012. Andrew Medichini / AP file

July 3, 2019 By Claudio Lavanga and Saphora Smith NBC

ROME — The Vatican has agreed to open a pair of tombs in the heart of Vatican City to search for the remains of a teenage girl who went missing more than three decades ago, according to a spokesman for the Holy See.

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican bank employee, was 15 when she disappeared after leaving a music lesson in Rome in 1983.

An undated picture of Emanuela Orlandi who disappeared in 1983 aged 15. AP file

Orlandi’s family indicated that her body was possibly buried in a “tiny cemetery inside Vatican State territory,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Tuesday, announcing the decision to open the graves.

The latest twist in a mystery that has long gripped Italy came a few months ago when the Orlandi family’s lawyer received an anonymous tip.

“Last summer, I received an envelope,” the lawyer, Laura Sgrò, told NBC News on Wednesday. “I opened it and there was a picture of the statue of an angel in the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican. And a letter that simply said, ‘If you want to find Emanuela, search where the angel looks.'”

The family requested the Vatican look into the new lead and Tuesday, officials announced they would dig up the grave under the angel statue, she said.

“On church standards, the decision was pretty swift,” she said. “We are cautious about this, as there were many leads in the past that proved to be unfounded, but it’s worth trying.”

The tombs are due to be opened July 11. Orlandi’s relatives will be present along with the relatives of the people buried there.

The exhumed remains will then go through DNA testing in order to establish whether they might be Orlandi’s, Gisotti said.

Pietro Orlandi, Emanuela’s brother, said he was hopeful because the anonymous letter was not the only source that indicated that the angel in the Teutonic Cemetery was the place to look for his sister’s remains.

“It’s a rumor that has been circulating within the Vatican for a while now,” he said. Pietro said it was a good sign that the Vatican was now cooperating with the investigation, and added that his family had asked for the tomb under the angel to be searched but that the Holy See had offered to open up two.

“If it turns out she really is buried there, there will be many people inside the Vatican who will have to be held accountable and answer difficult questions,” he said.

Claudio Lavanga reported from Rome; Saphora Smith from London.

Claudio Lavanga

Claudio Lavanga is Rome-based producer and correspondent for NBC News.

Saphora Smith

Saphora Smith is a London-based reporter for NBC News Digital.


Jesus, in his wildest, divine dreams, could not have envisaged what “holy” men would think, do and say, in his name.

The Jesus who condemned child hunters to the bottom of the sea, could not have imagined what men, claiming to be the followers of him and his 12, would do to children women and men for nearly 2,000 years.

I dont think the Anti Christ is one person.

I think the Anti Christ is the RC institution!


You mean the same anti christ institution you were happy to be part of and belonged to until they chucked you out. Why are you happy to be pictured outside such an institution on this blog ?


Now I realise that God, using The Old Nun, brought me out of the evil place so that I could serve him in freedom.
The reason for the picture outside the Vat?
To annoy Cathbots like you 😊


9.40: Pat, why continue to insult and denigrate others who suffer from you. It us a total contradiction that you should use your blog to spit out hatred, venom and vengeance. It’s easy to make smart, cutting, discouraging and negatuve comments. I would consider myself and many other clerics to be doing our best in difficult circumstances. Your words are very hurtful and offensive to us. God uses us too for his mission. What really matters is our openness to God so that he can reach others through our commitment and dedication. Yes, God uses you too but I am dismayed that you constantly diminish and demean all of us in your cutting cynicism. The use of denigrating terminology should be beneath you. Make your points without mockery. Those Cathboths as you call them were very kind and good to you when you belonged to their communities. Surely they are deserving of your respect and gratitude.


I acknowledge that there are good priests.

But how do they stay attached to an institution that has been shown to be so bad at so many levels???

The Catholics in the parishes I served were indeed very good to and I am grateful, but cannot understand how any of them still support the institution after ALL THE REVELATIONS.

Of course many have walked away.


Bishop Pat @ 10:27

These priests stay because they each, at ordination, vowed obedience to Baal in the form of a bishop.

These men each, knowingly and willingly (even eagerly), compromised himself morally through forswearing personal conscience and, therefore, Christ. To seal this deeply unholy vow, they each allowed himself to become totally dependent on his bishop, not on God.

This dependency is a psychological constraint (and a virtual surety) against ANY significant stirring of conscience about the Church (in particular, the behaviour of the local ordinary) that might, theoretically, occur in these, by now, Christ-betrayers, since it would, immediatly, snuff out such a stirring through fear of the inevitable, episcopal threat of being made homeless, income-less, and (for those outside a national health-care system) deprived of medical insurance. The strength of this constraint (and the degree of surety that comes with it) deepens the older a priest becomes, because as he ages, his propect of finding an alternative career, etc are inversely proportional

Few priests have the courage, and the selflessness, to break out of this bondage; you are the only one I know of.


An accurate analysis Magna. The potential loss of income and status effectively chains the clergy into subservience. Where you and I disagree is that I believe there are some pastoral motivated priests. To what extent they are few and/or misguided is for others to judge.


It has been made clear to M.Carta on several occasions that his/her/their fixation with the the promise of obedience is just that: a fixation of his/hers/theirs with no basis in fact, but rather the basis of a confusion of military obedience with obedience as an evangelical counsel.


An evangelical counsel? Did you tell Cahal Daly that before he dismissed Fr Pat Buckley for following his conscience?
Back to school for you.😅


Anon at 5:26pm

Excellent post, you are so right, this particular poster has bored us for ever ranting on about this subject which she know’s nothing about.
Evviva Maria!


Poster at 6:27pm
His Eminence the late Cahal Cardinal Daly dismissed Patsy for disobedience and unacceptable behaviour, not for following an uninformed conscience. Back to school for you.
Evviva Maria!


Ah, now c’mon, Bishop Pat! The last sentence of your post is soooo unjust.
Haven’t you heard of all the ‘good’ Roman Catholic priests?
(I have, but I’m damned if I can find any of them. 😞)


Magna at 12.42: We thought after the public admonishing you received from Pat and others recently that you would show some decency and restraint in your commentary. It is beyond comprehension that you feel the need for your repetitive, predictable expression of contempt for priests.Seeriously, what can explain such hatred? Today in our churches the majority of priests will strive to give meaningful witness to God’s love, which, with his grace, will be evident for all to see!


Decency and restraint is never shown by lying. And I am not going to lie by deliberately contradicting my firm opinion that there is, nor ever can be, a morally good Roman Catholic priest.
You people are compromised through the idolatrous vow taken at ordination and by the fact that you are totally dependent financially (and for your homes) not on God (Would that you were!), but on a bishop. It is why none of you will ever publicly criticise his bishop, should his behaviour even be monstrous. You All are forsworn moral cowards.
And boy does it show!
You should be ashamed of yourselves for such open betrayal of Christ. But then, when you’ve given your soul to Baal, personal conscience dies a swift death.
Oh! Consider yourself admonished, priest. 😁


As for the majority of priests giving (to use that vapidly supercilious phrase of yours) ‘meaningful witness to God’ s love’ 😂, must I spell it out for you? It’s all flummery and mummery, cant and bluster.
The parasite is performing. Couldn’t you have worked this out for yourself? Oh, wait! You didn’t need to, because you’re one of them.
Yes, the show must go on; so, too, one of the longest cons in history.
For the sceptical, watch how these parasites behave off-stage. You’ll understand better.


You are right Pat: Jesus in his wildest imagination could never envisage that the Church, acting in his name, could or would ever be responsible for abuse of any kind to a child or vulnerable young person or adult. Jesus had a special place in his heart for the little ones. (the little ones being a metaphor for all who are unwanted, on the margins, excluded, those considered expendable (unborn children)). To understand why he had such welcome, love and kindness for the little children, all we need do is look into the face of a new born child. A sense of awe, mystery, wonder and beauty opens up before us: the uniqueness, innocence, the gift of new life we witness evokes a reverence for what our eyes see. Each child is unique, precious and different and carries the potential to do great things, to make difference and to achieve much. Thus, we should have a special place in our hearts for the little ones. That any individual or group or institution should treat any child with abuse and cause hurt for life is criminal behaviour, morally reprehensible and deserving of full punishment by law. We know what Jesus said of such people …as you quote. I have heard this story before and hopefully now the full truth can be established. Hopefully the ‘mystery’ will be solved. But – we must ensure the protection, safety and care of children at all times. Incidentally, it’s been reported this week by Tusla that 15 children/ young people died last yesr while in state care. Where oh where is our outrage at this? Where is the voice of our Taoiseach, the voice of Minister Zappone and others…? We live in a society that says much about protecting and cherishing all the children equally. Really? What about the almost 4,000 children who are homeless? Within the kastv2 years I have been called to tragedies of peolle takingbtheir luves in centres for homeless famimies. I am haunted by my memories as in in one situation, a couple of children looked totally numbed and shocked at the reality of what we saw. Our society is not always good at minding the vulnerable ones. Just listen to the wonderful Alice Leahy from the TRUST charity. She knows. The Vatican story is intriguing and hopefully the truth will soon be found.


I fear the Orlandi family will be disappointed when the remains in these graves are DNA-tested. The family asked for the opening of only one grave, but the Vatican, astonishingly, offered to open two. Moreover, the offer was made with uncharacteristic swiftness.

I suspect the Vatican already knows that the remains of Emanuela will not be found in either of these graves, because it knows full well that she was buried elsewhere.

The Unholy See’s eagerness to cooperate with civil authorities in this matter is not only unprecedented, but highly (almost alarmingly) suspicious.


2.05: Pure speculation all the way, Magna. You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about but how you relish any opportunity to condemn the Catholic Church. Rise above hearsay and speculation or validate cogently your claims which I’m sure you’ll do!



Pure speculation? So what? It doesn’t mean that it’s untrue, nor that it is unreasonable.

It is speculation that Emanuela’s remains are buried in one or other of those graves. Should this stop the search for them?

Yours is a truly pointless post, isn’t it! (And that’s not speculation.)


You should stop publishing under different names.
Your language, spelling and constant referrals to the papal nuncio etc makes it plain who you are.
It’s not clever.


Exactly, Pat. That had been spotted months ago. He is the gay Irishman, now living in Scotland, who informed us he was getting enough sex, thank you, but who still had an unhealthy curiosity about the sex-lives of other people. His constant urging of people to write to papal nuncios, if it is being acted upon, must be providing a windfall for An Post and the Royal Mail.


I’m referring to a Scottish commentator who uses 5 or 6 handles to publish, thinking that we will think that it’s different people.


5.21: Magna, join the list of the many who post pointless comments. You have such arrogance about you. Again, you have absolutely no proof to validate your silly speculations, not that you are cin6cerned about the truth; rather, any you seize upon any opportunity to damn the Church. You’re a scratched, cracked and broken record at this stage. Upon the sighting of your name, we can expect the usual repetition of your brand of crazy comments. So, we just whizz by your essays….



Whizz by my ‘essays’?

Of course you do! (Which is why you commented on a post of mine you just, er, ‘whizzed past’.)


I dont MC submitted NO abusive comments today but I deleted 10/12 comments seeking to abuse and provoke him. Truth.


7.59 Says it all hi Talk about The Vatican sure the heads of them what shout abuse is worse than any Vatican hi. Get real make a difference in the world instead of spouting schyte on here. Comments are meant to address an issue and not have a go at folk.


7.59: Pat, I know you won’t print this comment. It doesn’t really matter. But – recently a whole day was given to Magna to justify his angry and abusive outbursts – OTT – and full of self pitying nonsense. It was a day of horrendous, nasty and personalised commentary. You acted much more discerning for a few days and now Magna is back with his usual repetition of smart, arrogant, obnoxious style. He may have felt your wrath and listened to the rational, well balanced observations of others. Now, he is allowed to rudicule, condescend, abuse, mock and sneer at his critics. Why are you enabling and facilitating this absurd creature who sees his role as being as nasty, vitriolic and contemptible as possible? He debased and devalues all others who vehemently disagree with him. His style is that of a bully, a social media brat who, mostly in a drunken state, feels he has a right to besmirch and offend everyone. You should not depend on trolls and bullies like him to keep your blog going. He has an abusive, deep psychopathic mad nature with no capacity for empathy, kindness, fairness or love. His is a loveless life, thus rendering him a dangerous individual.


Why not address MCs point TS rather than his character?
He is obviously anti RC and RC clergy in the strongest possible way.
But in context that is acceptable.
There is a battle on about the whole RC thing.
Ireland is now seriously anti RC and anticlerical.


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