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Inside the VaticanApril 21, 2023
pietro orlandi wears a leather jacket and stands on a street with his lawyer laura sgro who wears a brown jacket and glassesPietro Orlandi, the brother of Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican schoolgirl who disappeared in Rome in 1983, stands with Laura Sgrò, his family's lawyer, outside Porta Sant'Anna at the Vatican after meeting with Vatican City's chief prosecutor April 11, 2023. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

Pope Francis publicly denounced allegations made against Pope John Paul II on Italian television last week by Pietro Orlandi, the brother of Emanuela Orlandi. Last year, Ms. Orlandi’s mysterious disappearance from the Vatican almost 40 years ago, when she was just 15-years-old, inspired “Vatican Girl,” a documentary series on Netflix.

Mr. Orlandi, speaking on an Italian TV program, said that he had learned from a source that “John Paul II sometimes went out at night with two Polish monsignors, and he clearly did not go out to bless houses.” His comments have been understood to imply that the late pope was out sexually grooming young women at night. They were all the more surprising because they were made immediately after a lengthy meeting earlier that day between Mr. Orlandi, his lawyer and Alessandro Diddi—the Vatican’s chief prosecutor—to discuss the case.

When pressed after his interview to share the details of the comments implicating the saint-pope, Mr. Orlandi and his lawyer invoked their legal privilege not to disclose their source. Mr. Orlandi, through his lawyer, said that his comments “never accused John Paul II of these attempts at going out after girls,” Gerry reports. “This frustrated the prosecutor,” Gerry says, and “the prosecutor says, this is a break in the investigation, stopping the investigation,” and jeopardizes the ongoing process.

In the second half of the show, Gerry and Ricardo share what happened at a press conference in Rome on April 17, where Hans Zollner, S.J., explained why he resigned last month from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

In the second half of the show, Gerry and Ricardo share what happened at a press conference in Rome on Monday, April 17, where Hans Zollner, S.J., explained in greater detail why he resigned suddenly last month from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Father Zollner is a German Jesuit priest and the most recognizable authority on dealing with the scourge of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Father Zollner has said his resignation was necessary because of shortcomings on “responsibility, compliance, accountability and transparency,” within the commission.

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Links from the show:

Pope Francis defends John Paul II

Hans Zollner, S.J., resigns

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