ARCHBISHOP GALLAGHER: VATICAN ARCHIVES WILL SHOW GREATNESS OF PIUS XII

From the Holy See Press Office: “With regard to the activity of the Holy Father, the Holy See and Vatican City State in coming days, measures are being studied to avoid the spread of covid-19 to be implemented in coordination with those adopted by the Italian authorities.”

Also from the Vatican: The first Lenten sermon will be held tomorrow, March 6, 2020 at 9.00 am in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik. It will be broadcast live on the Vatican News site player.

ARCHBISHOP GALLAGHER: VATICAN ARCHIVES WILL SHOW GREATNESS OF PIUS XII

I posted a lengthy Vatican News interview on March 2 with Archbishop Paul Gallagher on the opening that very day of Vatican archives relative to Pope Pius XII who reigned from 1939 to 1958, most notably during World War II. Archives that have become available to scholars and researchers come from the Vatican Apostolic Archives and those of the Secretariat of State and a number of Vatican Congregations.

That day I was unable to post the photo EWTN’s Daniel Ibanez took of the archives but I seem to have solved the issue of uploading photos and presenr them today

The Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, says the opening of the Vatican Archives between the years 1939 and 1958 will show the great works of Pope Pius XII, as well as his efforts to communicate with the Soviet Union.

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Abp. Gallagher noted that, in terms of size, the archive is pretty big, “About 2 million documents! And if you put it all together – and it is together – it measures 323 linear meters of documents in boxes, cases, etc.”

He says the documents cover a vast area of activity: the actions of the Holy See during WW2, its diplomacy, Concordats negotiated, the humanitarian work of the Church, reports on particular religious and political issues, educational reports, and documents concerning Vatican City State.

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ARCHBISHOP GALLAGHER: VATICAN ARCHIVES WILL SHOW GREATNESS OF PIUS XII

I saved 18 fascinating photos from our Daniel Ibanez for this column and, for some reason today, I cannot add media from my photo folder. I hope I can find a remedy.

ARCHBISHOP GALLAGHER: VATICAN ARCHIVES WILL SHOW GREATNESS OF PIUS XII

The Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, says the opening of the Vatican Archives between the years 1939 and 1958 will show the great works of Pope Pius XII, as well as his efforts to communicate with the Soviet Union.

By Vatican News
On 2 March, the Vatican Apostolic Library opens the Holy See’s archives on the pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

Scholars and researchers can dig into a wealth of material that spans the years 1939 to 1958, including dispatches sent during World War II.

Ahead of the opening, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, sat down with Andrea Tornielli, the Editorial Director of the Dicastery for Communication.

While highlighting the importance of the historical archive of the Secretary of State, Archbishop Gallagher shares his special insight into the part of the archive relating to the Section for Relations with States, which he says, “is important, above all, because of the insights in terms of historical continuity that if offers.”

He explains this particular archive has its origins in 1814 and it brings together the various archives of Councils and offices that eventually became the Section for Relations with States as it is today, with a continuity of documents that go back from the beginning of the 19th century, to the present day.

Unique insight
Gallagher notes that normally, these archives would be open up until 1939 – to the death of Pope Pius XI – but says that Pope Francis decided to open them up as quickly as possible, effectively making them accessible until the end of the pontificate of Pope Pius XII in 1958.

“1939 to 1948 is completely ready and will be made available on 2 March,” he says, whilst for the years that go from ’48 to ’58, the work is well advanced but is not yet complete and therefore is not yet available.

He says the material will give people a unique insight into the politics and the diplomacy of the Holy See throughout that entire period.

In particular, Archbishop Gallagher says, regarding the pontificate of Pius XII, the archives offer, “as never before, a comprehensive understanding of what was going on, the type of person he was, the type of policies that Pius XII was issuing in those very terrible years, especially during the Second World War, and of the period immediately afterwards.”

Size and content
In terms of size, Gallagher says the archive is pretty big: “About 2 million documents! And if you put it all together – and it is together – it measures 323 linear meters of documents in boxes, cases, etc.” (photos from EWTN/CNA Daniel Ibanez)

He says the documents cover a vast area of activity: the actions of the Holy See during WW2, its diplomacy, Concordats negotiated, the humanitarian work of the Church, reports on particular religious and political issues, educational reports, and documents concerning Vatican City State.

Gallagher notes the material also highlights the work of some of those who emerged as protagonists during that era, including Monsignor Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.

The Church and the Pope during WWII and the Cold War
Of course, many of the documents contained in the archives relate to the activities of the Pope and of the Holy See during the years of the Second World War.

The Archbishop says Pope Pius XII “emerges as a great champion of humanity, a man deeply concerned about the fate of humankind during those terrible years, somebody who was very sensitive and concerned about those who were being persecuted, somebody who was also the object of the hatred of Nazis and fascism.”

They also make quite clear how those attacks were directed not just at the Pope but at the Church in general, he says.

Another particularly interesting section of the archives shines a new light on the initial period of the ‘Cold War’.

Gallagher reveals that they document the role of Pope Pacelli and that of Cardinal Casaroli in those years after the war, and of the work of religious and priests “who were trying to make contact with local Soviet authorities in order to try and work out some difficult but necessary modus vivendi for the Church to create a space.

This, he says, is exactly what Casaroli went on to do later in Eastern Europe “to try and create a degree of understanding and a space in which the Church could operate.”

Digitalization
Archbishop Gallagher concludes explaining the advantages of having digitalized the Archives:

“One advantage is the possibility to preserve, to conserve the documents because through digitalization people are granted access but you don’t have to take the documents out of the place where they are being stored, they don’t have to be touched and exposed to the atmosphere,” he notes.

The second principle advantage, he says, is the facility with which they can be accessed because they include inventories and catalogues that make consultation easy.

Finally, he notes, “It also means that people can work on the same document at the same time, which is a great advantage for historians and students alike!

FOR VIDEO: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-03/archbishop-gallagher-vatican-archives-pius-xii.html

*** INFORMATION ABOUT DOCUMENTS:

1. «Das Schwarze Corps» July, 22 1937 – journal of S.S. Satirical cartoon showing Cardinal Pacelli embracing a woman, with Semitic features, representing France and Communism.
2. May, 1939. Sign posted on the route to Mühldorf by Cardinal Michael Faulhaber with the inscription “Fort mit Faulhaber, dem Judenfreund! Dem Handlanger Moskaus!” Stop it with Faulhaber, The Friend of the Jews, the long hand of Moscow.
3. January-April 1948. Letters of thanks from needy German children for the gifts sent to them by Pius XII on the occasion of their First Communion
4. April, 1939. Request for audience of Chief Rabbi of the Holy Land Yitzhak Herzog to Pius XII
5. July, 1944. Letter from Margarethe Bach, daughter of the Rabbi of Vienna, thanking Pius XII for the help received and saying that on the coming Jewish holidays she and her father will pray, together with her father, for the Pope.
6. March, 1944 – Ardeatine massacre. list of deaths at Fosse Ardeatine massacre.
7. June 29, 1943. Minutes or drafts of the Encyclical ‘Mystici Corporis’ on the mystical body of the Church, with corrections by Pius XII
8. December, 3 1944. Summary of the speech for the audience to the RAI staff, with autograph correction by Pius XII.
9. December 24, Summary of Pius XII’s Christmas radio message, with autograph correction autografe
10. December 15, 1948. Summary of the speech given by Pius XII to Luigi Einaudi, President of the Italian Republic, received in solemn audience for the first time. (in Latin, with autograph corrections)

IN HISTORIC MOVE, VATICAN TO OPEN ARCHIVES OF PIUS XII PAPACY ON MARCH 2 – THREE CARDINALS APPEAL FOR RELOCATION OF REFUGEES IN EUROPE

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.

BISHOP PAGANO: OPENING THE ARCHIVES WILL REVEAL THE GREATNESS OF PIUS XII

Today is Mardi Gras, the Fat Tuesday precursor to Lent. Celebrations take place in many cities of the world, as you know, including the Lagoon City, Venice. I posted some photos yesterday from a Carnevale I attended not long ago in Venezia and offer a few more today! Enjoy!

I also visited the church where St. Lucy, patronness of eye health, is buried –

I also visited a church where Pope St. John XXIII, former patriarch of Venice, is remembered –

In the meantime, I wish you a blessed and fruitful Lent!

BISHOP PAGANO: OPENING THE ARCHIVES WILL REVEAL THE GREATNESS OF PIUS XII

According to the Prefect of the Vatican Secret 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. Documents concerning Pius’ pontificate will be available within the next year.
Sergio Centofani (vaticannews)

At an audience with managers and staff of the Vatican Archives, Pope Francis announced the opening of the area of the archive relating to the pontificate of Pope Pius XII on 2 March 2020. The opening of this section of the archives means that qualified researchers will be able to view a large volume of documents collected in the Vatican during the period from 2 March 1939 to 9 October 1958. The date of the opening in 2020 coincides with the anniversary of the election of Eugenio Pacelli as Pope Pius XII.

Article in “L’Osservatore Romano”
Bishop Sergio Pagano, Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, provides details of the initiative in an article, published in the Monday edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and in advance by the Holy See Press Office. In the article, Bishop Pagano describes the long period of preparation that led to this moment: “Archivists of the Vatican Secret Archives and their colleagues from other Vatican archives carried out patient work of sorting, annotating and inventorying the many fonds and documents”, he writes.

The Prefect recalls 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.

Archival openings
When the archive relating to the pontificate of Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) was opened in 2006, at the request of Pope Benedict XVI, continues the Prefect, “work was already underway for the progressive preparation of the documentary material of Pius XII, which many scholars demanded with ever greater insistence”.

Pope Francis has decided to open the Vatican Secret Archives, the Historical Archives of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, and the Historical Archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, up to October 1958, explains the Prefect. Also, the Historical Archives of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Historical Archives of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the Archives of the “Fabbrica” of St. Peter and, according to different modalities and forms of access, other Historical Archives of Congregations, Dicasteries, Offices, and Tribunals, all “at the discretion of their superiors,” says Bishop Pagano.

Each of these archives has its own rules, reservation systems, indexes and inventories relating to their documentation, which will now be open for study.

New sources available
Describing the new sources of the Secret Archives that will be available to scholars, Bishop Pagano cites about 151,000 positions (each of which consists of dozens of sheets) of the Secretariat of State. Detailed computer descriptions of this documentation have been prepared and are available in paper format (68 volumes of indexes). Then there are the so-called “separate envelopes”, which contain documentation regarding individual topics or institutions, under the organization of the Secretariat of State, totaling “538 envelopes, of which there will be a precise descriptive list,” says the Prefect.

From the same source come the “76 units now called the Pius XII Papers, which contain manuscripts by Eugenio Pacelli before and during his pontificate, as well as typescripts of his many speeches, sometimes with handwritten corrections”. There are also three other substantial “special” archival collections. The first is that of the Relief Commission, the second is simply called Pontifical Charity, and the third is that of the Migration Office, set up to deal with the problem of the repatriation of prisoners and refugees, as well as the growing issue of migration, caused by the poverty experienced in certain European countries.

The documents of the pontifical representations will also be available: “For each pontifical representation an accurate Inventory has been prepared, indispensable guides for researchers (about 81 Indexes for a total of more than 5,100 envelopes). These inventories can also be consulted on the Intranet of the Vatican Archives for the convenience of scholars and to facilitate their research in various fields”, writes Bishop Pagano.

Cataloguing challenges
In order to face the challenge of cataloguing, “twenty officials from the Vatican Archives dedicated themselves constantly and exclusively. Where possible, they were assisted by qualified graduates from the School of Palaeography, Diplomacy and Archiving within the Archive itself”. The same goes for the other historical archives of the Roman Curia that are now open for the pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

“It was certainly a struggle,” writes Bishop Pagano, but “a struggle sustained by a certain enthusiasm, both because we were aware that we were working for future historical research in relation to a crucial period for the Church and for the world, and because the papers were everything but uninspiring. They spoke, and I hope they will speak, to researchers and historians of an almost superhuman work of Christian humanism that was active in the stormy disorder of those events that in the mid-twentieth century seemed determined to annihilate the very notion of human civilization.”

The figure of Pope Pius XII has often been “too superficially judged and criticized for some aspects of his pontificate”, concludes Bishop Pagan. Now, thanks to the openness asked for by Pope Francis, historians will be able to research the pontificate of Pope Pius XII “without prejudice, but with the help of new documents, in all the realistic scope and richness” of that pontificate.

Research instructions
Instructions for conducting research in the Vatican Secret Archives, are available on the website (http://asv.vatican.va/content/archiviosegretovaticano/en/consultazione/accesso-e-consultazione.html).

Research in the Archivio Segreto Vaticano is free of charge and open to qualified scholars conducting scientific studies. All researchers must have a university degree (five-year course) or an equivalent university diploma.

Clergymen must possess a licentiate degree or PhD.

A letter of request must be addressed to the Prefect, indicating the reasons for the research. This must be accompanied by a presentation letter from a recognized institute of scientific and historical research or a person qualified in the field of historical research (tenured university professors).

VATICAN ARCHIVES FOR PIUS XII TO OPEN MARCH 2, 2020 – VATICAN SECRET ARCHIVES: 53 MILES OF CHURCH, PAPAL HISTORY – POPE FRANCIS AND THE PIUS XII PAPERS – ORLANDI FAMILY ASKS THAT A VATICAN TOMB BE OPENED – CARNEVALE IN VENICE

A bit of history was made this morning with the great news from Pope Francis about opening the Vatican Secret Archives of the Pius XII pontificate next year. I have visited the Archives several times over the years, especially when I worked for the Vatican. I had two great thrills: One was to see documents relative to the Lewis family, in particular to my great Uncle Frank James Lewis, and the second was what I know to be a rare and privileged visit to what you will see described below as the Bunker of the Archives! Breathtaking is the least descriptive word I can think of!

For so many decades, Pope Pius XII has been misunderstood and criticized from different sides regarding what he did – or what many say he did not do – to help Jews under nazism. The Archives are expected to give the whole picture.

Below you will see a brief piece from the Archives web page.

To understand some of the background to this story – and the importance of Pope Francis offering to open the archives in 2010 – I offer a March 1 article from Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

You have probably been aware over the years, if you have seen Gary Krupp of Pave the Way Foundation on EWTN programs, including Raymond Arroyo and heard him on some radio interviews we’ve done together, that PTWF has done remarkable work in recognizing all that Pius XII did for Jews (Gary is Jewish) and obtaining permission from the Vatican Archives to post some documents on its website.

VATICAN ARCHIVES FOR PIUS XII TO OPEN MARCH 2, 2020

The Holy Father’s address today to the staff and directors of the Vatican Secret Archives:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you, and am pleased to receive you. I thank Msgr. José Tolentino de Mendonça for the kind words of greeting he addressed to me on behalf of you all. I greet Msgr. Sergio Pagano, Professor Paolo Vian, the new vice-prefect, and you archivists, writers, assistants and employees of the Vatican Secret Archive, as well as the professors of the Vatican School of Paleography, Diplomatics and Archives.

The occasion of this visit – so shortly after my meeting with you and with the Apostolic Library, on 4 December last – is the happy anniversary, just the day before yesterday, of the eighty years that have passed since the election as Supreme Pontiff, on 2 March 1939, of the Servant of God Pius XII, of venerated memory.

The figure of that Pontiff, who found himself guiding the Barque of Peter at one of the saddest and darkest moments of the twentieth century, agitated and lacerated by the last world war, with the consequent period of reorganization of the nations and post-war reconstruction, has already been investigated and studied in many aspects, sometimes discussed and even criticized (it could be said with some prejudice or exaggeration). Today he has been appropriately re-evaluated and indeed placed in the correct light for his many qualities: pastoral, above all, but also theological, ascetic, and diplomatic.

At the behest of Pope Benedict XVI, since 2006 you Superiors and Officials of the Vatican Secret Archive, as well as of the Historical Archives of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State, have been working on a common project for the cataloguing and preparation of the substantial documentation produced during the pontificate of Pius XII, part of which was already rendered consultable by my venerable Predecessors Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II.

I therefore thank you, and through you also the other Vatican archivists, for the patient and scrupulous work you have done over the past twelve years, and which you are still partly carrying out, to complete this aforementioned preparation.

Yours is a job that takes place in silence and far from clamour; it cultivates memory and in a sense it seems to me that it can be compared to the cultivation of a majestic tree, whose branches reach towards the sky but whose roots are solidly anchored in the earth. If we compare this tree to the Church, we see that it is reaching our towards Heaven, our homeland and final horizon, but the roots sink into the soil of the same Incarnation of the Word, in history, over time. You archivists, with your patient effort, work on these roots and help keep them alive, so that even the greenest and youngest branches can receive good sap for their future growth.

This constant and significant effort, on your part and on that of your colleagues, enables me today, in memory of that significant anniversary, to announce my decision to open to researchers the archival documentation related to the pontificate of Pius XII, up to his death at Castel Gandolfo on 9 October 1958.

I have decided that the opening of the Vatican Archives for the Pontificate of Pius XII will take place on 2 March 2020, exactly one year after the eightieth anniversary of the election to the See of Peter of Eugenio Pacelli.

I have assumed this decision after hearing the opinion of my closest collaborators, with a serene and confident mind, sure that serious and objective historical research will be able to evaluate, in the proper light and with appropriate criticism, the praiseworthy moments of the Pontiff and, without any doubt, also moments of serious difficulties, of tormented decisions, of human and Christian prudence, which to some might have seemed to be reticence, and which instead were attempts, humanly also very hard-fought, to keep the flame of humanitarian initiatives lit during periods of more intense darkness and cruelty, of hidden but active diplomacy, of hope in possible good openings of hearts.

The Church is not afraid of history; rather, she loves it, and would like to love it more and better, as God does! So, with the same trust of my predecessors, I open and entrust to researchers this documentary heritage.

While I thank you again for the work accomplished, I wish you continued efforts to provide assistance to researchers – scientific and material assistance – and also in the publication of the Pacellian sources that will be considered important, as you have been doing for some years.

With these sentiments, I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and ask you, please, to pray for me.

VATICAN SECRET ARCHIVES: 53 MILES OF CHURCH, PAPAL HISTORY

The Archivio Segreto Vaticano pursues it specific activity aimed at preserving and enhancing the deeds and documents related to the government of the Universal Church. It primarily serves the Roman Pontiff and the Holy See and secondly offers its services to scholars of all faiths from all nations.

The current name, the “Archivio Segreto Vaticano” has been documented as from the mid-17th century when, like today, it was given to the pope’s private (secretum) archives over which he exercised supreme and sole jurisdiction.

The documentary heritage housed in its vast storerooms spans about twelve centuries (8th to 20th centuries). It consists of over 600 archival fonds and is stored on over 85 linear kilometres of shelving, some of which is in the Bunker, a two-storey underground vault below the Cortile della Pigna of the Vatican Museums.

After Pope Leo XIII opened the doors of the Archivio Segreto Vaticano to scholars back in 1881, it has become one of the most famous history research centres in the world.

In accordance with a practice established in 1924, the pope grants free access to the documents «grouped into pontificates» currently running up to the end of the papacy of Pope Pius XI (February 1939). Nevertheless, Paul VI departed from this practice and granted scholars access to the Archives of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) after the Council came to a close in 1965; Pope John Paul II granted access to the fond Ufficio Informazioni Vaticano, Prigionieri di Guerra (Prisoners of War) (1939-1947); lastly, the fonds Commissione Centrale per l’Arte Sacra in Italia (1924-1989) and Censimento degli Archivi Ecclesiastici d’Italia (1942) have been made accessible to the scholars.

(There are 85 linear kilometers – 53 miles – of shelves in the Archives, according to the official web site: You can learn how to visit or do research in the Archives by visiting its site: http://asv.vatican.va/content/archiviosegretovaticano/en.html)

POPE FRANCIS AND THE PIUS XII PAPERS

For some time work has been under way to open to scholars the material on the pontificate of Pacelli, discussed for the “silence” on the extermination of the Jews
by Gian Guido Vecchi

Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958) was elected Pope in 1939 and assumed the name of Pius XII

On Saturday 2 March, 80 years have passed since the election of Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope with the name of Pius XII on 2 March 1939, precisely on his birthday. And it is significant that two days later, on Monday 4 March, Pope Francis receives in audience the personnel of the Vatican Secret Archive. The expectation of historians from all over the world has been enormous for decades, and it is now expected that Bergoglio will give the green light to the publication of the archives of Pacelli’s pontificate, in particular the years relating to the Second World War and the Shoah. The Secret Archive proceeds in chronological order for pontificates.

The material on Pius XII is immense and has been catalogued for about ten years: twelve people, under the guidance of Monsignor Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Secret Archive, to order sixteen million sheets, more than fifteen thousand envelopes and two thousand five hundred files between Secretariat of State, Congregations of the Roman Curia and nunciatures. By now we have reached a good point, the work on the nunciature documents remains to be completed, the Archives say that to end the pontificate it could still take “a year”.

The issue is very delicate because it is linked to the historiographical controversy surrounding Pacelli’s behavior in the face of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Scholars tend to divide, even in the Jewish world, between those who accuse him for “silences” and omissions – beginning with the raid of the Rome ghetto, October 16, 1943, 1022 people deported two days later to Auschwitz without in the meantime nothing happened: they returned in 16 – and those who speak of «black legend» and focus rather on the hidden rescue work.

When the “heroic virtues” of Pius XII were recognized at the end of 2009, a step towards beatification, polemics were also re-opened in Israel. Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem considered “deplorable” to have occurred before the publication of “all documents”. The Vatican scholars, however, do not believe that the publication will add much to the broad “synthesis” published in 1965 in twelve volumes: the Actes et documents du Saint Siège relatifs à la Second World Wars.

The final decision rests with the Pope, who has already said he is determined to make everything public. On 5 June 2017, in a homily at Santa Marta on “works of mercy”, Francis cited the example of Pius XII who had “risked”, he said, “to hide and save the Jews”. In 2014, interviewed by the Barcelona daily La Vanguardia, he recalled the rescue work “in the convents of Rome and other Italian cities, and also in the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.”

On the other hand, in the book Heaven and Earth, written with his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Bergoglio explained: “It is right that the archives are opened and everything is clarified. That we find out if something could be done and to what extent. And if we made a mistake in something we will have to say: “We were wrong in this”. So far, the arguments I have heard in favor of Pius XII seemed to me to be strong, but I must admit that not all the archives have been examined “.

ORLANDI FAMILY ASKS THAT A VATICAN TOMB BE OPENED

(ANSA) – Vatican City, March 4 – The family of Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican City citizen who disappeared mysteriously at the age of 15 in June 1983, has asked the Vatican to reopen what it calls a “suspect” tomb in the Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican.

“I can confirm that the letter from Emanuela Orlandi’s family has been received by (Secretary of State) Cardinal Pietro Parolin,” said interim Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti on Monday. He said their request to have the tomb reopened “will now be studied.”

A lawyer for the Orlandi family said, “seeing that the Pope has decided to open the Vatican Archives for the Pontificate of Pius XII in 2020, we make an appeal to the pontiff to give us access to the dossier that regards the investigation into the disappearance of Emanule Orlandi.”

CARNEVALE IN VENICE

I had hoped to go to Venice for a few days this year to relive the wonderful Mardi Gras – “Carnevale” – celebrations in what is known as the Lagoon City, but I was blessed on other ways last week and had to put that excursion on the back burner. I’ve been to Venice a number of times over the years for the pre-Lent festivities and am always amazed, in fact newly amazed, each time I go at the huge crowds – half are there to be seen in their stunning costumes and the other half are there to see the show.

On a lighter note today, here are a few photos of Carnevale past – I’ll post more tomorrow.

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE ACTON INSTITUTE – POPE FRANCIS: CARDINAL KEELER, “A WISE AND GENTLE PASTOR” – POPE PIUS XII SPEAKS ON THE TREATY OF ROME

Rome, especially the historic center and the Vatican area, is in lockdown for the visit by more than 4 dozen European Union leaders, heads of State and government who have descended on Rome to mark the 60th anniversary tomorrow of the Treaties of Rome that created the European Economic Community, the precursor of today’s EU, European Union.

I posted the following link on FB as this gives you an idea of the security measures, although it does not include the fact that air space over Rome has been closed from 6 am today to 11 pm tomorrow, and that sharpshooters are everywhere, including rooftops as you can imagine – a total of 5,000 police put in place. http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/rome-security-plan-for-eu-summit/

If that is not enough, Milan is also in a state of lockdown for Pope Francis daylong visit tomorrow!

Pope Francis has concluded his address to the EU leaders in the Vatican’s Sala Regia. Click here for a summary of that talk: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-man-at-centre-of-european-project  –  And here for an English translation of that talk: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-address-to-eu-heads-of-state-and-gove

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE ACTON INSTITUTE

My guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Acton Institute’s Rome Office. We talk about the mission and work of the Institute. The future of Europe, and we dedicate some time to one of our favorite people and friends, the late, great Michael Novak, and his impact on the world, on Acton and on our personal lives. Part I airs this weekend.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE FRANCIS: CARDINAL KEELER, “A WISE AND GENTLE PASTOR”

Pope Francis sent the following telegram of condolences for the death yesterday, March 23, at the age of 86 of Cardinal William Henry Keeler, archbishop emeritus of Baltimore. to Archbishop William Lori, archbishop of Baltimore. Cardinal Keeler had the titular church in Rome of Santa Maria degli Angeli e Martiri on Pza. Della Repubblica.

”Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal William H. Keeler, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal Keeler’s years of devoted episcopal ministry in the local Churches of Harrisburg and Baltimore, his years of leadership within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and his long-standing commitment to ecumenical and interreligious understanding, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord. FRANCISCUS PP.

POPE PIUS XII SPEAKS ON THE TREATY OF ROME

(Vatican Radio) Celebrations are underway here in Rome to mark 60 years since the signing of the ‘The Treaty of Rome’. It was March 25, 1957 and when it was signed it established one of the foundation stones of the European Economic Community.

And to mark the occasion Pope Francis is set to receive 27 European Union heads of State and government during a private audience in the Vatican’s ‘Sala Regia’ on Friday evening.

But why not step back in time to the days of that treaty when the Roman Pontiff was Pius XII.

Listen to the words, in English, of Pope Pius XII to mark that occasion in a programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:  http://www.news.va/en/news/pius-xii-and-the-the-treaty-of-rome