Dozens Protest Pope's Silence on Girl

May 28, 2012

Dozens of people have protested at the Vatican against Pope Benedict XVI's failure to show interest in the case of Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of an ex-Vatican employee missing since 1983.

"Shame, shame," cried the protesters at Saint Peter's Square, reproaching the Pope for not mentioning her name after Sunday's Angelus prayers, when the pontiff often greets pilgrim groups and mentions topical issues.

"We came from all over Italy to hear the Pope say the name of Emanuela but we are once again leaving disappointed. There is something wrong here," one protester said.

The protest was organised by the missing 15-year-old schoolgirl's brother, Pietro, who has been leading a decades-long campaign to find out what happened to her. He has also accused the Vatican of silence and even complicity in the case.

Emanuela, the daughter of a member of the Vatican's police, was last seen on June 22, 1983 when leaving a music class.

Theories have circulated that she was kidnapped by an organised crime gang to put pressure on Vatican officials to recover a loan, or that she was kidnapped to force the release from prison of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope Jean Paul II in 1981.

The Vatican said on several occasions that it has co-operated with Italian police over the case.

But referring to the Pope's silence on Sunday, Pietro said it is "a shame, a word of prayer would have been enough".


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