Pope Francis Vows To Open Vatican Wartime Archive — 'Truth Must Be Goal'

Could Pius XII Sainthood Push Be Scuttled?

getty images

By JTA

Published January 20, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Should Pope Francis decide to open the secret Vatican archives regarding the World War II pontificate of Pope Pius XII, it could still take another year and a half before the thousands of documents in question are fully catalogued.

“It is a very complex operation, which we have been working on for six years,” Monsignor Sergio Pagano, the prefect of the Secret Vatican Archives, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Monday.

Pagano said it could take “another year or year and a half” before the organization of the files and documents is completed. “After that, the pope will decide,” he said.

Critics have long accused Pius of not having done enough to help Jews during the Holocaust and have called for the archives to be opened to clarify the issue. The Vatican asserts that he worked behind the scenes to save Jews. Pius XII was declared “venerable” and put on the path to sainthood in 2009.

In an interview in the Sunday Times, Francis’ longtime friend, the Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, said he and the pope discussed the Pius case when they met at the Vatican last week. He told the Sunday Times that Francis felt that no decision on Pius’s beatification and canonization should be taken before the archives have been opened and the issue cleared up.

“The question is very delicate, and we have to continue to analyze it,” he told the Times.

Francis had already expressed his view that the World War II archives should be opened in “On Heaven and Earth,” a book he co-wrote with Skorka in 2010, when he was Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio.

“Opening the archives of the Shoah seems reasonable,” he wrote. “Let them be opened up and let everything be cleared up. Let it be seen if they could have done something [to help], and until what point they could have helped. If they made a mistake in any aspect of this, we would have to say: ‘We have erred.’ We don’t have to be scared of this — the truth has to be the goal.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.