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ROME – Among physicists, the great white whale of their discipline has long been a so-called “Theory of Everything,” meaning a single, all-encompassing theoretical framework that fully explains and integrates all aspects of the physical universe, from relativity to quantum mechanics and beyond.
This drive for convergence, to bring together seemingly disparate realities into a single coherent narrative, would seem to characterize the ever-fertile field of Vatican conspiracy theories as well, with recent days bringing two good examples of the trend.
Probably the most prominent Vatican mystery of the last 40 years has been the 1983 disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl whose father worked in the Prefecture of the Papal Household and whose family lived on Vatican grounds. Over the years, Orlandi’s fate has been tied to would-be papal assassin Mehmet Ali Ağca, the KGB, the Masons, the Roman mob, and to alleged pedophile rings inside the Vatican itself.
Now the Orlandi case seems to be merging with another 1983 case, the death of a 12-year-old Uruguayan boy, the son of a UN bureaucrat, in a pine forest south of Rome near the beach at Ostia. Josè Garramon was run down and killed by a Ford Transit driven by an Italian man named Marco Accetti, who would later claim to have been instrumental in the Orlandi case as well.
On Friday, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera carried an interview with Garramon’s mother, Maria Laura Bulanti, in which she claims Accetti was a pawn of the infamous P2 Masonic lodge in Italy, in league with Operation Condor in Latin America to suppress critics of right-wing regimes. According to Bulanti, she and her husband were fierce critics of those regimes, and Accetti targeted their son to intimidate them into silence.
P2, of course, has been linked over the years to any number of Vatican mysteries, including the Vatican bank scandals of the 1970s and 80s and the deaths of both Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi. Just to make things complete, Corriere reports that Aldo Accetti, the father of Marco, was indeed a member of the Masons.
In the recent Netflix documentary “Vatican Girl” about the Orlandi case, Marco Accetti doesn’t come off as an especially credible figure – indeed, Orlandi’s brother Pietro, who knows more about his sister’s disappearance than anyone, dismisses Accetti as a fraud, and a psychological evaluation concluded that he’s exactly the personality type to seek to inject himself into a situation in an effort to make himself feel important.
Nonetheless, one emerging “Theory of Everything” would seem to run through Accetti, linking Orlandi not only to Garramon but also to the cases of Mirella Gregori and Katty Skerl, two other teenage girls who either disappeared or were killed in Rome in 1983 and 1984. (Accetti claims Gregori was kidnapped to place pressure on the Italian government while Orlandi was taken to influence the Vatican, and that Skerl was killed by a faction of clergy and laity in the Vatican opposed to the group Accetti represented.)
Speaking of convergence, Vatican financial scandals also seem to be bleeding into one another at the moment, in the person of none other than Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, the femme fatale at the heart of the Vatileaks 2.0 affair in 2015-2016.
To recap, Chaouqui had been a PR officer working for the Italian branch of Ernst and Young when she was asked in 2014 to become part of a papal study commission to examine Vatican finances known by its acronym “COSEA.”
Journalists were intrigued by the idea of an attractive laywoman in her early 30s wielding such influence, and began digging into her background. They quickly discovered controversial Twitter messages critical of the then-secretary of state, Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and favorable to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, key to the original “Vatileaks” affair in 2012.
Reporters also found a few racy images of Chaouqui with her husband posted online, which led the Italian magazine Panorama to dub her the “sexy bombshell who embarrasses the Vatican.” From that point, she became a media sensation.
Eventually, Chaouqui was convicted by a Vatican court for leaking confidential COSEA documents to reporters, charges she always denied, and sentenced to ten months in jail, though that sentence was suspended – in part because Chaouqui gave birth during the trial to a son whom she named “Pietro” in honor of the pope.
Now it emerges that Chaouqui has become an advisor to the star witness in the Vatican’s most important financial scandal du jour, the fallout from a $400 million investment in London real estate that’s at the heart of its ongoing “Trial of the Century” against ten defendants, including Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
The star witness for the prosecution is an Italian monsignor named Alberto Perlasca, who used to work in the Secretariat of State and who basically volunteered to give evidence against his colleagues. To that end, he delivered a lengthy memo to prosecutors on August 31, 2020, that’s more or less the heart of their case.
Heretofore, Perlasca had claimed the memo was exclusively his own. Under examination this past week, however, he conceded that the topics covered in it had been suggested by a friend, a laywoman named Genoveffa Ciferri. Perlasca said Ciferri initially told him she’d consulted an elderly magistrate for help, but eventually admitted it was actually Chaouqui to whom she’d turned for advice.
Lawyers for Becciu swiftly claimed Chaouqui’s involvement proves there’s a plot to make their client the scapegoat.
The judges in the case decided to summon both Ciferri and Chaouqui as witnesses, with their testimony slated for early next year after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
So, Accetti is core to the “Theory of Everything” on the Orlandi front, and Chaouqui on the financial end. Now, if we could just some up with some reason to believe that both are actually undercover P2 operatives, we might really have something.