Thousands of Bones Found in Vatican Crypt in Search For Missing Teenager

Rome (CNN)` Thousands of bones have been unearthed in two ossuaries discovered in the Vatican City, as part of an ongoing search for clues into the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl more than three decades ago.

 

Emanuela Orlandi, who was the daughter of a prominent Vatican employee and lived within the walls of the holy city, disappeared in the summer of 1983 while on her way home from a music lesson in central Rome.
Emanuela
The mystery surrounding Orlandi’s disappearance gripped Italians for more than three decades, and inspired conspiracy theories involving everyone from mobsters to international terrorists, and the highest echelons of the Vatican.
Interest in the case was renewed in summer last year, when the Orlandi family received an anonymous tip, hinting that Emanuela’s remains may be located in the tombs of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg at the Teutonic Cemetery.
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The family had received an image of a sculpture and an instruction to “look where the angel is pointing.” This led them to the Teutonic Cemetery, which is located adjacent to the grand Saint Peter’s Basilica and is typically reserved for the burials of German-speaking Catholics.
After the Vatican agreed for forensic investigators to open the tombs on July 11, no human remains nor traces of coffins were found. The Vatican indicated that the remains of the princesses may have been removed during renovation work on the cemetery and surrounding buildings in the 1960s and 70s.
Nevertheless, two ossuaries — chambers in which bones of the dead are stored — were uncovered during their investigations beneath the floor of an area inside the Teutonic College.
Investigators subsequently discovered “thousands of bones” in the chambers, which are believed to correspond to “dozens of people,” according to Giorgio Portera, a geneticist appointed by the Orlandi family.

 

Pope and Emanuela Oralndi
Pope John Paul II with Emanuela Oralndi (pink jumper, center), and (from right) her brother Pietro, father Ercole, and mother Maria.nter a caption

 

DNA analysis will now take place on each set of remains, but Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the precise data will have to await “morphological evaluations next Saturday.”
“It must be considered that many of the bones being dated are shattered and therefore this increases the number present, many of which are small,” Gisotti told CNN. “This means that there may be more fragments of the same bone structure.”
While the origins of the bones remain unknown, Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, 60, said the investigation into the ossuaries had been “a great satisfaction.”
“In the ossuaries, there shouldn’t be any recent bones, so if there are, even if it’s not Emanuela Orlandi, it will be a problem for the Vatican,” he told CNN. “There are hundreds, thousands of bones and now the Vatican is classifying them by age and will investigate the more recent ones.
Petro Orlandi
He added that it is important for an independent expert to investigate the bones to ensure the objectivity of the results.
“The Vatican doesn’t want this out and doesn’t want to be seen in this way, but finally I feel like they have taken a step back and we have moved a step forward,” he said.
The Vatican responded in a statement, according to Reuters, saying that it is “once again showing its openness towards the Orlandi family” in agreeing for investigations to take place in the Teutonic Cemetery, even when only based on an “anonymous report.”

Cardinal Bernard Law, who was the Archbishop of Boston when unpunished sexual misconduct within the Catholic Church surfaced, has died in Rome

the victims of sexual abuse were outraged because it gave Law a second career and a golden parachute that allowed him to stay close to the center of power in Rome and serve as a member or adviser in several influential Vatican departments.

Reported by Phillip Pullella~ Reuters

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former Archbishop of Boston, who died on Wednesday, resigned in disgrace after covering up years of sexual abuse of children by priests and whose name became a byword for scandal in the Catholic Church. 

The Vatican announced his death just before dawn on 20 December 2017.

via FTP

The telegram of condolences Pope Francis sent to the dean of the College of Cardinals was unusually short and bland compared to those for other cardinals before.

Francis said he was praying that the merciful God would “welcome him in eternal peace.” The pope did not mention that Law had been Archbishop of Boston and a brief Vatican biography made no mention of the circumstances of his resignation 15 years ago.

Law was Archbishop of Boston, one of the most prestigious and wealthy American archdioceses, for 18 years when Pope John Paul reluctantly accepted his resignation on Dec. 13, 2002, after a tumultuous year in church history.

Bernard Law

A succession of devastating news stories by Boston Globe reporters showed how priests who sexually abused children had been moved from parish to parish for years under Law’s tenure without parishioners or law authorities being informed.

“No words can convey the pain these survivors and their loved ones suffered,” SNAP, a victims’ group, said.

“Survivors of child sexual assault in Boston, who were first betrayed by Law’s cover-up of sex crimes and then doubly betrayed by his subsequent promotion to Rome, were those most hurt,” SNAP said in a statement.

Law’s resignation sent shockwaves through the American church and had a trickle down effect around the world as the cover-up techniques used in Boston were discovered to have been used in country after country.

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The story of how the Globe team brought the scandal to light in a city where few wanted to cross the politically powerful church was told in the 2015 film “Spotlight,” which won the Oscar for Best Picture.

The situation in Boston turned out to be the tip of an iceberg of abuse and its cover-up, where churchmen preferred protecting the reputation of the institution rather than the innocence of children.

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Thousands of cases came to light around the world as investigations encouraged long-silent victims to go public, shattering the church’s reputation in places such as Ireland, and forcing it to pay some $2 billion in compensation.

 

“As Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities. I deeply regret that reality and its consequences,” Law’s successor in Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said in a statement.

Six months after his resignation, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office announced that Law and others would not face criminal charges.

After a period in a monastery in the United States, Law moved to Rome.

 In 2004 Pope John Paul appointed him to be archpriest of the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four major basilica’s of Christendom, whose gold leaf ceiling is said to be made from the first batch of the precious metal Columbus brought back from the Americas. He is likely to be buried there.

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In relative terms it was an immense fall from grace. Such posts are symbolic and ceremonial. But the victims of sexual abuse were outraged because it gave Law a second career and a golden parachute that allowed him to stay close to the center of power in Rome and serve as a member or adviser in several influential Vatican departments.

He also maintained the rank of cardinal and participated in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict in 2005.  Before he became ill, Law was a regular on the diplomatic circuit, attending receptions, including many in the gardens of the US Embassy to the Vatican.

While Law was an awkward presence at US receptions for a few years after his resignation, at Italian events he was treated with the same effusive obsequiousness bestowed on all cardinals – something Law appeared to enjoy.

 He always declined to talk about events in Boston. “I’m retired from that,” he told a reporter at one reception.

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 Photo credit: The Boston Globe via Getty Images 

Cardinal O’Malley, Law’s successor, heads a Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on how to root out sexual abuse in the Church.

But the credibility of the commission, which was formed in 2014, has been hurt by the resignation of two high-level lay members who have accused the Vatican of dragging its feet.

 The terms of most members expired recently and it is not clear what Pope Francis will do with it.

Last September, Francis, addressing the commission, said the Catholic Church had moved too slowly to confront abuse.

“When consciousness arrives late, the means to resolve the problems also arrive late. I am aware of this difficulty but it is reality and I say it plainly: We arrived late. The old practice of moving people around and not confronting the problem made consciences fall asleep,” the pope said.

Law was born on Nov. 4, 1931, in Torreon, Mexico, the son of a US Army official and a musician. He graduated from Harvard University and was ordained a priest in 1961.

His first assignment was in Mississippi, where he received death threats for championing civil rights. As bishop of Springfield–Cape Girardeau in Missouri, he opened a home for battered women and a center to help Vietnamese boat people.

ISIS Threatens to Attack Vatican on Christmas

ISIS militants see the Vatican as a prime target because it represents Christianity and the West.

The Islamic State has threatened to attack the Vatican on Christmas, in what they are calling a “Christmas blood” attack.

In a propaganda video released by ISIS supporters, a masked figure is shown driving toward the Vatican with a gun and a backpack, supposedly containing a bomb. The video is accompanied by the words “Christmas blood. So wait…” ISIS AND VATICAN

According to Fox News, Christmas is historically a time when ISIS has stepped up their attacks. One such attack occurred in 2015, when a terrorist who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State carried out an attack in San Bernardino, California which killed 14 people.

The terrorist group is especially looking for opportunities to be on the offensive since they are losing more and more ground in the Middle East, the seat of their so-called “caliphate.” Terror experts have warned that, because the Islamic State has lost territory they previously controlled, they may focus their efforts on isolated attacks in various parts of the world. 

ISIS militants see the Vatican as a prime target because it represents Christianity and the West. Security is being stepped up in the Vatican and in other places around the world as the holiday season approaches.

Vatican diplomat implicated in child porn case served in Hong Kong

In Vatican City, Capella could face consequences in two disciplinary systems: Under church law, he could be defrocked as a priest, and under civil law in the Holy See, which is also an independent nation, he could face criminal penalties.

Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella has been recalled to the Vatican from his most recent posting in the United States, where he has diplomatic immunity

A Catholic Church official recalled to the Vatican because US investigators suspected him of crimes involving child pornography is a diplomat who has served the church in positions around the globe, including Hong Kong.

The diplomat in question is Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella. The church and US State Department and Justice Department officials refused to name the suspect on the record, but his identity was reported by the Italian news agency ANSA, then confirmed by The New York Times and The Guardian.

Capella, 50, has had a wide-ranging career in the church that brought him to the United States only this past year. Born in the town of Carpi in Northern Italy, he was ordained as a priest in 1993, pursued a degree in canon law and then entered the Vatican’s corps of diplomats in 2004, according to Associated Press. In that role, he was posted in India and then Hong Kong before another stint at the Vatican.

In 2008, according to a document from the Archdiocese of Milan, Pope Benedict XVI conferred the rank of “Chaplain of His Holiness” on Capella – a recognition of service to the church that bestowed on him the title of Monsignor.

In August, the State Department contacted the Vatican to say that US officials had turned up evidence implicating Capella in a child pornography case. At the Vatican embassy in Washington, Capella was one of four staff members with diplomatic immunity, protecting him from prosecution in America. The embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW, near the US Vice-President’s residence, also employs about a dozen locally hired staff members, according to people familiar with the embassy’s operations.

The church transferred Capella back to the Vatican and said that it is investigating the case. A State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to remark more frankly about the case, said that the United States had asked the Vatican to waive Capella’s immunity so that he could be prosecuted here. The Vatican refused.

In Vatican City, Capella could face consequences in two disciplinary systems: Under church law, he could be defrocked as a priest, and under civil law in the Holy See, which is also an independent nation, he could face criminal penalties. The city state’s criminal law says people convicted of possessing child pornography face two years in prison and US$12,000 in fines, and those convicted of producing or distributing the images face steeper penalties.

Sexual Scandals in the Roman Catholic Church

The priest, Jozef Wesolowski, was charged with paying boys to perform sexual acts, of downloading and buying pedophile material. He died before a verdict was reached.

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican diplomat working in Washington has been recalled to the Holy See after the U.S. State Department said the priest may have violated child pornography laws, the Vatican said on Friday.

Prosecutors in the Vatican have opened an investigation into the case, which represents a fresh blow to the Roman Catholic Church as it struggles to overcome repeated sex abuse scandals among its clergy.

The State Department notified the Holy See in August “of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See to ensure full implementation of its reforms and policies designed to protect minors and provide justice regarding allegations” the spokesman said.

A State Department spokesman said the United States had requested that the man’s diplomatic immunity be waived to open the way for possible prosecution, but the Vatican refused.

The priest, who was not named, has returned to Vatican City and is awaiting the outcome of the Holy See investigation, which could lead to a trial in the tiny city state.

The U.S.-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said possession of child pornography was not a victimless crime because the children involved were being abused.

“(Pope Francis) must bring the diplomat back to the United States in order to adhere to his promises of complying with investigations by civil authorities in cases of child sexual abuse,” SNAP managing director Barbara Dorris said.

Pope Francis has declared zero tolerance over abuse scandals that have beset the Church for decades, but has appeared to struggle to overcome resistance within the Vatican hierarchy.

The State Department spokesman said the pope had promised to “act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse” and punish those found guilty of wrongdoing.

“The United States encourages the Holy See to ensure full implementation of its reforms and policies designed to protect minors and provide justice regarding allegations,” the spokesman said.

Two years ago the Vatican put the former papal ambassador to the Dominican Republic on trial for child sex offences, a case that was seen as showing the pope’s determination to clean up the Church.

The priest, Jozef Wesolowski, was charged with paying boys to perform sexual acts, of downloading and buying pedophile material. He died before a verdict was reached.

He was the first high-ranking Catholic official to stand trial in the Vatican on such sex charges and the case was closely watched by victims of priestly abuse, who have accused the Vatican of repeatedly hushing up previous scandals.

Just last month, in the foreword to a new book written by a Swiss man who was raped by a priest when he was 8 years old, Pope Francis said sexual abuse of children by priests was a “monstrosity” and pledged to take action against perpetrators.

[Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Rome and David Alexander in Washington; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg]