Italian mobster to be exhumed from basilica in Rome

An Italian mobster is still causing controversy some 22 years after his burial at the Basilica of St. Apollinare in Rome. It was in 1990 that Enrico De Pedis, the boss of the notorious Magliana criminal organization, was buried at the church that is operated by Opus Dei. According to local news sources, Cardinal Ugo Poletti – who was then the vicar-general of Rome despite initial misgivings gave permission for the criminal to be laid to rest there. Emerging since then is that the Catholic Church had received one billion lire ($660,000) as payment from his widow to permit his interment within the basilica.

Last week it emerged that Catholic officials in Rome have decided to remove De Pedis’ remains from the crypt for reburial elsewhere. This came after Giancarlo Capaldo, a prosecuting magistrate, claimed that Vatican officials knew about the connections between De Pedis and the Magliana gang to financial dealings involving the Church. Capaldo also asserted that Vatican officials may have known about the gang’s involvement in the abduction and murder of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican official in 1983. "There are people still alive, and still inside the Vatican, who know the truth," he said as controversy and conspiracy theories swirl in Rome.

There are theories that the murdered girl’s  father may have had evidence that implicated the Vatican Bank, known as the Istitutio per le Opere di Religione, with activities of Italian organized crime syndicates. These theories contend that the Orlandi girl was abducted to ensure her father’s silence over those connections, and that De Pedis organized the kidnapping. De Pedis himself was murdered in 1990.

Since the 1990s, theories have been afoot that Emanuela’s remains were placed in the tomb with De Pedis. Her brother Pietro Orlandi, has among those forcefully calling for an exhumation. Fr. Federico Lombardi, seeking to address the rumors told the press "It seems that nothing has been concealed and there are no Vatican secrets to reveal." The tomb is slated to be opened on May 4. De Pedis’ remains will be removed to an as yet undisclosed location.

Other theories about Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance contend that the Magliana gang abducted her to be used by Turkish nationalists to secure the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk who shot and nearly killed Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Still other theories contend that Father Paul Marcinkus, an American priest who served as the head of the Vatican Bank, was implicated. Disgraced following the bankruptcy of Italy’s private bank, Banco Ambrosiano, in 1982, Father Marcinkus resigned and is now deceased. Following the failure of Banco Ambrosiano, bank president Roberto Calvi was found hanging by the neck beneath the Blackfriars Bridge in London.

Filed under crime, religion, religion, catholic, crime, italy, vatican, Europe


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