ALL NEWS

Vatican to open controversial WW2-era files on Pope Pius XII

Mar 2, 2020, 6:50 AM
Pope Francis addresses diplomats during an audience for the traditional exchange of New Year greeti...
Pope Francis addresses diplomats during an audience for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings, in the Sala Regia hall at the Vatican on January 9, 2020. (Photo by REMO CASILLI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by REMO CASILLI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by REMO CASILLI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Secret archives at the Vatican will be opened for the first time on Monday, giving scholars access to documents that may shed light on the controversial figure of Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of failing to help to save Jews during World War II.

Scholars and Jewish groups have been asking for decades that the archives, which contains millions of letters, cables and correspondence from Pius XII’s 1939-1958 pontificate, be made available for study.

“We need to express our enormous gratitude and appreciation to Pope Francis for taking this step,” Menachem Rosensaft, Associate Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress, said.

The Vatican normally waits 70 years after the death of a Pope before making his archives available for study.

Pope Francis has fast-tracked the opening of the Pius XII archives in order to help clear up the debate over the war-time pope, whose process for sainthood has been temporarily halted.

“The Church is not afraid of history,” Francis said last March when announcing his decision to make the archives available.

The Pope said he hoped that the “hidden but active diplomacy” of Pius XII would be evaluated “in its proper light.”

The controversy

In the years immediately following the war, Pius XII was praised by world leaders, including Israel’s then-Prime Minister Golda Meir. But his reputation began to deteriorate in the 1960s when Rolf Hochhuth’s play “The Deputy” accused the pope of being silent in the face of the Nazi extermination of Jews.

Other books critical of Pius XII followed, such as “Hitler’s Pope,” by John Cornwell in 1999, and “Under His Very Windows” by Susan Zuccotti in 2000.

In January this year, the Miami Jewish Film Festival premiered a documentary entitled “Holy Silence” that also questioned whether Pius XII did enough to help save Jews from the Holocaust.

One of the Vatican’s chief archivists, Johan Ickx, said the accusations against Pius XII were unfounded.

“He was not at all silent,” Ickx said. “All of his priests in central Europe and the north of Europe were actively doing nothing else than trying to save people, Jews as well, all people, because that was one of their charges.”

From March 2, scholars will be allowed into the Vatican archives to study the files.

Ickx says scholars from all nations and religions are welcome, so long as “they have studied a little bit at university to know what they are dealing with.”

A group of Jewish scholars from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will also be among those studying the papers.

Menacham Rosensaft stressed it was too early to speculate on what the archives might disclose but he hopes it will allow historians to have all the facts.

“We can’t rewrite history,” Rosensaft said, “but history has to be written based on full evidence and that is what we’re looking for.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin extremism...
Ellie Kaufman, CNN

Defense secretary condemns ‘nuclear saber-rattling’ but says he doesn’t believe Putin has decided to use nuclear weapons

While U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hasn't seen anything to suggest Russia has decided to use nuclear weapons, he did condemn nuclear saber-rattling
12 hours ago
Hurricane Ian survivor Hope Labriola waited for help as her home filled with water. Photo credit: H...
Caroll Alvarado, CNN

‘I can’t do this’: Fort Myers Beach woman calls for help as Hurricane Ian’s storm surge floods her home

A Fort Myers Beach woman called for help as the storm surge from Hurricane Ian.
12 hours ago
Lisa Garner. Photo credit Draper City....
Mark Jones

Lisa Garner has support of Draper mayor to become next city judge

Draper Mayor Troy Walker is seeking the appointment of Lisa Garner as the city's next judge. The appointment must be approved by the city council on Oct. 4.
1 day ago
Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Murray Police warning public to be on lookout for scam

Several reports of a scam have been reported in Murray. According to police, a caller pretends to be from the Murray Police Department and attempts to notify a person of a warrant and insists the person pay the bail amount.
1 day ago
An electronic sign on the campus of the University of Utah was seen displaying pornography today....
Becky Bruce

Slight increase in crime on U of U campus from previous year, report says

There has been a slight increase in crime on campus over the previous year, according to a report released Friday by the University of Utah.
1 day ago
Turkey and cattle farms near Moroni, Utah. Three additional cases of avian influenza have been conf...
Mark Jones

Three additional cases of avian influenza confirmed in Sanpete County

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday that three additional cases of avian influenza have been confirmed on turkey farms in Sanpete County.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Vatican to open controversial WW2-era files on Pope Pius XII