Vatican opens archives of World War II-era pope – EWTN News Nightly
Pope Francis decided to early declassify materials about the pontificate of Pius XII
Pope Francis told the Vatican Secret Archives that “the Church is not afraid of history,” and announced the decision to open access to materials relating to the Second World War and the pontificate of Pius XII, which the Jewish communities have been seeking for decades. Some of their representatives accuse Pope Pius XII of not condemning the Holocaust. Archives dating back to his 19-year pontificate will be open to researchers in a year..
Usually, the Vatican opens access to the archives 70 years after the end of the pontificate, but in the case of Pope Pius XII, who led the Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958. and for most of World War II, Pope Francis decided to open the archives eight years earlier, without waiting for 2028.
From March 2, 2020, researchers will have access to all materials related to the pontificate of Pius XII, who is often criticized for turning a blind eye to the horrors of the Holocaust. Critics say he did not put in enough effort to help Jews and end their persecution.
The Vatican, for its part, defends the pontiff, insisting that he did his best through secret diplomacy. Pope Francis shares this position. He believes that criticism of Pius is “somewhat biased and exaggerated”, and expresses confidence that “serious and objective historical research will give an assessment in the right light.”.
Announcing his decision to open the archives, the pontiff said that he received him “in a serene and confident state of mind,” and noted that Pius XII led the Church in one of the “saddest and darkest periods of the 20th century.”.
After becoming pope six years ago, Francis made it clear that he was going to open the archives. In 2013, the media reported that he told his friend, Rabbi Abraham Skorca, that the idea seemed reasonable..
The head of the Jewish community in Rome, Ruth Duregello, called Pope Francis’ decision “positive news” and expressed hope that the researchers will be able to “shed full light on the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II”, although this will have to wait another year. “Better late than never,” she said.
Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, Dr. Yael Nidam-Orvieto, noted that the opening of access to the archives will be an important event.
News Service; Voices of America