Father Amorth, Head Exorcist at the Vatican (yes really), has hit the headlines. He has shed scandalous light on a long running mystery concerning the unsolved disappearance of a fifteen-year-old in Rome, Italy during the 1980s. Speaking to the Italian media he alleged yesterday that schoolgirl Emanuela Orlandi, a name well known in Italy, was kidnapped three decades ago, murdered and her body disposed of by officials who worked for embassies to the Vatican.
But wait, Father Gabriele Amorth, who is also the the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists (yes REALLY!) says the disappearance of the young girl was a “crime with a sexual motive”. He claims she was most probably kidnapped and forced to take part in sex parties. Based on recent findings from a mysterious Vatican archivist he says, “…parties were organized, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the ‘recruiter’ of the girls. The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle,” he told Italian media.
Father Amorth, aged 85 is no stranger to controversy. Previously he has described yoga as satanic, because it leads to the worship of Hinduism. Ever vigilant he has also warned against the dangers of Harry Potter novels, urging caution as the texts encourage children to experiment with black magic and wizardry. The reasons he has turned his attention to solving murder mysteries is unclear but oh boy, he always gets his headlines.
The PR Verdict: “A” for Father Amorth and a well managed media hit almost entirely devoid of content. Is the mystery any closer to be solved or could the Vatican’s chief exorcist be a fame junkie?
PR TAKEAWAY: For the perfect media storm: throw together key words and let the content look after itself. Is there anything sexier than words that include; sex scandal, sex parties, murder, foreign officials and yes, the Vatican? When these words come from the Vatican’s “Chief Exorcist” headlines are guaranteed. Content is a little trickier though and despite the rather sensational claims it is not obvious that this mystery will be solved anytime soon. This is one case where a little content has gone a long way. Could higher powers be at work?
The PR Verdict returns on Tuesday, after the Memorial Day Weekend.