The Archbishop, The Cardinal, The Gangster and The Missing Girl

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jun 29, 2008 | Categories: Politics, Scandals

In the center of Rome, near the Piazza Navona, is the church of Saint Apollinare. It houses a crypt where popes, cardinals and martyrs are interred.

Also buried there is Enrico De Pedis, also known as Renatino, one of the most powerful bosses of the Magliana gang.   He was assassinated on February 2, 1990. De Pedis’ internment at the church is unusual procedure for a common citizen, and even more so since he was a gangster. italian-gang.jpg

Authorizing the internment at the time was Cardinal Ugo Poletti, then Vicar of Rome, who gave his permission. Cardinal Poletti died in 1997, and was  eulogized by Pope John Paul II. cardpoletti.jpg

Former members of the Magliana gang have said De Pedis was “very religious” and gave “huge donations” to the Church before he died, perhaps to atone for his crimes.

The church is next to a building that houses the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. On June 22, 1983, a young girl was kidnapped after her flute lesson at the Institute. Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, was 15 years old when she disappeared. She was spotted by a policeman getting into a dark green BMW with a man, the last time she was seen alive. Her body was never found. orlandie2b.jpg

In 2006 an anonymous caller told an Italian tv program on missing persons  to “take a look” at the tomb of De Pedis in the Saint Apollinare crypt. There is a persistent theory that the tomb contains the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, or some clue to her disappearance.

Police said the church was under Vatican control and therefore considered “extraterritorial” Vatican property. Permission for the white marble tomb to be opened would therefore have to be given not only by the Rome diocese but also by the Holy See, as well as by De Pedis’ widow, Carla Di Giovanni.

But the investigation into her disappearance was reopened last week following the leaked testimony of Sabrina Minardi, ex-wife of Italian soccer star Bruno Giordano and later girlfriend of Enrico De Pedis.

Minardi, who the press painted as a “recovering drug addict,” alleged in a statement to Italian police that De Pedis had kidnapped Orlandi, put her in a sack and threw her into a cement mixer in Torvaianica, an area of sand dunes on the coast near Rome.

Minardi also alleged that Orlandi had been seized and killed on the orders of Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, then then head of the Vatican Bank “to send a message to someone,” she said, without revealing more. She claimed that De Pedis had taken her to lunch in Torvaianica and told her he had two sacks in the car.

“He said he had the body of Emanuela Orlandi with him,” Minardi claimed in the police statement.

De Pedis and his driver “went to a building site. I stayed in the car. They threw it all into a cement mixer. That’s how they got rid of all the proof.”She added: “This was not a killing for money, it was a symbolic kidnapping. They seized Emanuela to give someone a message.”

Archbishop Paul Marcinkus’ catchall phrase – “You can’t run the Church on Hail Marys” – must have served him well as president of the Institute for the Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank, which he headed from 1971 to 1989. He died in Sun City, Arizona in February 2006. marcinkuspaul.jpg

As head of the Vatican Bank, Marcinkus became embroiled in legal trouble and sensational speculation because of his business ties to two notorious Italian financiers: Michele Sindona, who was poisoned while serving a jail term for fraudulent transactions; and Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982.

The Vatican angrily reacted to the news the investigation was being reopened. A Vatican spokesperson said “defamatory and baseless accusations” had been made against the Archbishop, “who has been dead for some time and is unable to defend himself.” The Vatican went on to criticize the media outlets reporting the story.

“We in no way wish to interfere with the duties of the magistrates in their rigorous verification of the facts and responsibilities. But at the same time, we cannot but express our extreme regret and reproof at methods of information that owe more to sensationalism than to the requirements of seriousness and professional ethics.”


A a further postcript, Lorenzo Radogna,  lawyer for the De Pedis family, announced on Italian  tv channel La7 News  “the corpse of Enrico De Pedis will be cremated and removed from the grave in the Sant’Apollinare’s church,” but he did not provide any further information regarding the future place of the remains.

There was no mention if the police would be able to examine the coffin before it (and any evidence) was turned into ashes.

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3 Responses to “The Archbishop, The Cardinal, The Gangster and The Missing Girl”

  1. uomodirispetto Says:

    mama mia

    enrico de pedis, who was indeed said to be a very religious man, ‘but he killed people’, as one of the church officials recently put it,then why does his legal rep now say he his body will be removed from the church of San’Appollinare?
    For whatever reason, if de pedis was allowed to be buried there, then he should be left to rest there – if there is any doubt that the body of emanuela orlandi is there, then steps should be taken to verify or quash such rmours – whatever the problems it might cause for the Holy See.
    De Pedis shouold NOT be removed from the crypt whatever we might have thought of him – he was placed there by the church, and there he should rest

    ciao amici

  2. diana Says:

    ‎”For the truth about Emanuela Orlandi’: her brothers appeal to the Pope

    Your Holiness,
    I turn to you in your dual capacity as head of state and representative of Christ on earth to ask you to engage in all that is humanly possible to ascertain the truth about the fate of your compatriot Emanuela Orlandi,missing from Rome since the 22nd of june, 1983.The abduction of a young girl is the most serious offense to religious values and civil society:The greatest injustice of all has been done to Emanuela,she has been denied the opportunity to choose her own life.I put my trust in a decisive and inspired action on your behalf because after 28 years, the bodies responsible for ascertaining the truth (internal and external to the Vatican State) take every action and decision useful to clarify the incident.An act so Christian would only give light to your highest spiritual teaching, freeing the family of Emanuela and the many who have loved her from the agonizing eternal waiting.

    To join the appeal, just send an email to:

    petizione.emanuela @

    stating: “I join the petition to Pope Benedict XVI for the truth about Emanuela Orlandi”
    the following details: Name and surname, ADDRESS AND CITY ‘OF RESIDENCE, TELEPHONE NUMBER AND PROFESSION

    You can also join the facebook group:
    petizione.emanuela @ – Official Group founded by Peter Pietro Orlandi

  3. Annarita Giorgi Says:

    Please force the vatican to release any information regarding the fate of Emanuela Orlandi

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