IN HISTORIC MOVE, VATICAN TO OPEN ARCHIVES OF PIUS XII PAPACY ON MARCH 2
On March 4, 2019, Pope Francis, speaking to officials and staff of the Vatican Secret Archives, announced that he would allow the Vatican archives relative to the papacy of Pius XII to be opened on March 2, 2020. The 2019 announcement was made two days after the 80th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli as Pius XII.
The Pope said at the time that Pius “guided the Barque of Peter in one of the saddest and darkest moments of the twentieth century.” He said his predecessor “has already been investigated and studied,” discussed and even criticized, often in a “prejudiced or exaggerated manner.” He added that today, “the pontificate of Pius XII is being re-evaluated, in the hopes that a more balanced historical judgement might emerge.”
Months later, on October 22, 2019, the Vatican issued Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter ‘Motu proprio’ L’esperienza storica” that changed the name of thE Vatican Secret Archives to the Vatican Apostolic Archives.
Today, a year after the archive announcement, journalists were invited to the press office where officials from the archives and other Vatican offices were made available to the media for interviews about the Pius XII archives. Among those present this morning were Cardinal José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, Archivist and Librarian of Holy Roman Church, Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Archives, Prof. Paolo Vian, vice prefect of the Archives and Dr. Johan Ickx, of the Historic Archives of the Secretariat of State’s Section for Relations with States. (photos: Daniel Ibanez EWTN)
In brief remarks before the interview sessions, Cardinal Calaça de Mendonça said over 150 historians and researchers have signed up to study the papal archives. He noted there were millions of pages involved from the Vatican Apostolic Archives, the Secretariat of State, the Congregations for Oriental Churches and for Evangelization, the Fabbrica di San Pietro and the Apostolic Penitentiary and said the study and research process would take years, not weeks or months.
Pius XII has been accused over the decades of not doing enough to help or save Jews during World War II. Millions were in fact killed by Hitler during that war. Pope Benedict XVI, a German Pope, was the first to speed up the process to open the archives ahead of schedule.
Last March, Bishop Pagano, in an interview with Vatican news, spoke of the meaning of opening the archives. According to the prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Archives, Pope Francis’ decision to open the archives on Pope Pius XII will allow a more profound evaluation of the figure of Eugenio Pacelli, who is often the subject of superficial criticisms. The documents tht will be open to the public date from his election on March 2, 1939 to his death on October 9, 1958.
In that interview, the prefect recalled that, in 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II made the extensive collection of the Vatican Office of Information for Prisoners of War (1939-1947) available to researchers. This is composed of “2,349 archival units, divided into 556 envelopes, 108 registers and 1,685 boxes of documentation, with an alphabetical file, which amounts to about 2 million and 100,000 records, relating to military and civilian prisoners, missing or interned, of whom information was being sought. A fund immediately investigated and still very much in demand today by private scholars or relatives of the deceased prisoners”, writes Bishop Pagano.
To read that entire interview: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-03/bishop-pagano-opening-vatican-archives-pope-pius-xii.html
THREE CARDINALS APPEAL FOR RELOCATION OF REFUGEES IN EUROPE
In a letter addressed to the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union, Cardinals Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE); Michael Czerny, SJ, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; and Konrad Krajewski, the Almoner of His Holiness, call for refugees present on the island of Lesbos to be relocated to other European countries.
By Vatican News
Three leading Cardinals have called for European Episcopal Conferences to help relocate refugees stuck in Lesbos and other reception camps in Greece.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) highlights Pope Francis concern for the more than 20,000 adults and over 1,100 unaccompanied minors living in precarious and overcrowded structures “in Europe, but outside of the European society”. The letter is also signed by Cardinals Michael Czerny, SJ, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; and Konrad Krajewski, the Almoner of His Holiness.
The letter begins by recalling the Angelus of September 6, 2015, when Pope Francis made an appeal “to parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines throughout Europe, that they express the Gospel in a concrete way and host a refugee family”. At that time, the Holy Father also urged the support of all the European bishops for his appeal, recalling that, “Mercy is the second name of Love”.
“Encouraged by the Holy Father’s words, this path has become – as well as a Christian duty – a heartfelt invitation for the whole Church to awaken new, evangelical energies of welcome in each of the member countries of the European Union”, the Cardinals write. They suggest that the Bishops’ Conferences should “agree on a project for a humanitarian corridor from Lesbos and other first reception camps in Greece, in collaboration with their individual governments”.
They note the successful experience with the relocation and integration of refugee families in Vatican City and in the Archdiocese of Luxembourg, and invite the Church in European Union “not to remain indifferent” and to give back hope to these persons.
The letter is accompanied by the document “Guidelines on the procedure for the transfer of asylum seekers and refugees from Greece to a European country” – which provides the legal basis for a continent-wide project of relocation, and proposes a concrete manner to make it a reality. This document was prepared by the Community of Sant’Egidio and provides Bishops’ Conferences with technical information necessary to receive and integrate these persons and families.