Pope Francis has criticised what he said were groundless and offensive accusations against St John Paul II, after the brother of a missing Italian teen aired an audiotape with the allegations on national television. Source: Crux.
Speaking to faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope noted that the day marked the feast of Divine Mercy, instituted by St John Paul II in 2000.
“Certain of interpreting the sentiments of faithful from all over the world, I direct a grateful thought to the memory of St John Paul II, who in recent days has been the object of offensive and unfounded allegations,” he said.
Francis’s remarks marked the first time he has spoken out publicly about the allegations, which arose several days ago when Pietro Orlandi, the brother of missing Italian teen Emanuela Orlandi, gave Vatican prosecutors investigating his sister’s disappearance an audiotape containing the alleged testimony of an Italian mobster saying John Paul II used to go out at night with some Polish monsignors to harass underage girls.
Mr Orlandi later had the tape aired on Italian television network La7, one of the country’s leading nightly news programs, sparking intense backlash not just from the Pope, but several top Vatican personalities.
The daughter of a Vatican employee, Emanuela disappeared while returning from a music lesson in June 1983 at the age of 15.
Since her disappearance nearly 40 years ago, the case has become Italy’s most famous unsolved mystery and has been a source of countless conspiracy theories over the years, having been linked to the plot to kill John Paul II, to Vatican financial scandals, and to the Italian criminal underworld.
The Vatican’s Editorial Director, Andrea Tornielli released a statement blasting Mr Orlandi’s decision to broadcast the allegations, saying the allegations were baseless and grounded on mere “hearsay.”
Mr Orlandi’s lawyer, Laura Sgrò, issued a statement walking the allegations back, saying Mr Orlandi “did not intend to make accusations against any person,” and that his only interest was the unconditional search for the truth.
Pope Francis condemns ‘offensive, unfounded’ allegations against JPII (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)