Monday, January 18, 2010

Israel asks Vatican to open wartime archives

Catholic World News
January 18, 2010

Echoing previous statements of Jewish leaders, a senior Israeli government official has asked the Holy See to open the Vatican archives to research on Pope Pius XII’s activity during World War II.

“I asked the Pope to find a way to make it possible to open the archives in the Vatican in order to give some details of the papacy of Pius XII in order to ease tensions between the Jewish people and Catholics,” said Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom after the Pontiff’s January 17 visit to the Roman synagogue.

“In this specific case it is comprehensible that there should be a request to have open access to all possibilities of research on the documents,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi last month. “Yet for the complete opening of the archives-- as has been said on a number of occasions in the past-- it is necessary to organize and catalogue an enormous mass of documentation, something which still requires a number of years' work.”

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Israel asks pope to open up WWII archives (Reuters)

Note Concerning Decree on the Heroic Virtues of Pius XII


At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Gabriel Wilensky said...

No one should be really surprised at Pope Benedict’s actions. After all, he lifted the excommunication to a Holocaust-denying bishop, he spoke at Auschwitz but forgot to mention that the Holocaust was caused by pathological antisemitism, and of course neglected to mention where antisemitism might have come from. Also, he has been extolling Pope Pius XII's "heroic virtues" and has been promoting his canonization. People should be even less surprised at any residual animosity toward the wartime pope, Pius XII. After all, that pope had the power, but not the will, to make a difference during the war yet he chose to remain silent.

The Church claims that propelling Pope Pius XII into the sainthood is a reflection of his religious actions, and that may be so. However, Pius XII was not just a religious figure: he was the pope, the leader of an international organization responsible for the care of hundreds of millions of souls, and he was the leader of a state with a fully operational government with influence on a global scale. So his actions—or inactions—cannot be measured solely based on what his contributions to the advancement of faith was. Certainly not for someone who ruled over the Catholic Church at a time when almost half the German population and the vast majority of Austrian, French, Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Hungarian and other populations that collaborated with the Germans in executing the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” were Catholic.

The Vatican Secret Archives for the WWII period need to be opened. This is ultimately also for the Church's benefit, even if it does show, as I think it will, that the Church as such did very little to help the hounded Jews. After all, it was the Church itself that published eleven volumes of documents 40 years ago precisely to counter allegations that Pope Pius XII did do as much as he should have. It's safe to assume the Church would have shown its best, most compelling documentation showing Pius helping Jews if it had it, and it would have been totally counterproductive to have left clear evidence of this help out of those eleven volumes. I think one can logically assume the documentation simply does not exist.

Gabriel Wilensky

Six Million Crucifixions:
How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust
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At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems no matter how much the Catholic Church does, it will never be enough for Israel. How about a compromise. The Church opens it's wartime archives, and Israel pays to the Church the several million dollars that it cost Pius XII to save the 900,000 Jews that he hid from the Nazis and found safe passage for during the war. I think that is quite resonable.


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