Komorebi Post:On the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the Election of Pope Pius XII last Saturday, the Vatican announced that the secret archive of his papacy during the World War II will be open for scientific research on March 2, 2020.
During the ceremony, Pope Francis declared, “The Church is not afraid of history. On the contrary, she loves it’’. The archive contains files, documents, and correspondence that would shed light on the ecclesiastical affairs between Pope Pius XII and National Socialists.
Pope Pius XII was head of the Catholic Church from March 2, 1939, to his death in 1958. He concluded pacts with various Catholic nations, but most notable is the decree between The Holy See and Nazi Germany from 1933, which restricted the influence of the Catholic Church in the emergent Nazi Germany and de facto legitimized Hitler’s regime. Pius XII was at the time Cardinal Secretary of his predecessor.
Having adopted a reserved approach for which he has been criticized, Pope Pius XII unsuccessfully tried to mediate between governments and deter Nazi Germany. His critics point to the fact that he never openly antagonized the aggressors and thus did not prevent the outburst of a deadly conflict. He has been labeled “The Pope of silence” in the face of the Holocaust, specifically by not summoning Catholic soldiers and officials to refuse orders and remaining indifferent to the evacuation of the Jewish ghetto in Rome and the deportation of its inhabitants to Auschwitz.
Bishop Sergio Pagano, Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, provided details on the initiative in an article, published in the Monday edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. “Archivists of the Vatican Secret Archives and their colleagues from other Vatican archives carried out patient work of sorting, annotating and inventorying the many funds and documents”, wrote the Bishop.
At the audience with staff members of the Vatican Archives, Pope Francis said he was convinced with a serene and confident soul that historical research will be able to evaluate in its proper light the wartime papacy of Pius XII.