Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Archives Director: Pius XII Files Ready in 5 Years

Says No Mysteries or Surprises Expected
LAS PALMAS, Canary Islands, MARCH 2, 2010 ( According to the prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, the documents from Pope Pius XII's pontificate might be catalogued and ready for researchers in five years.

There are some 16 million documents from the 1939-1958 pontificate. They have generated great interest due to the polemics surrounding Pius XII's aid to Jews during the Nazi era.

Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, gave the projected date for catalogue completion when he opened an event on the history of the Church held annually on the Canary Islands.

In his talk Monday, the bishop gave an overview of the history of the Vatican Secret Archives, noting how Pope Leo XIII opened it to researchers in 1881.

Pope Paul VI was responsible for the most recent expansion of the archives, now on two floors with 43,000 meters (47,000 yards) of display stands. Between 60 and 70 researchers work there daily, and sometimes as many as 90.

Regarding the controversial documents from Pius XII's time, Bishop Pagano said the Holy See would be willing to open the archives even tomorrow, since there is nothing to "fear" from them. But, he said, the documents must still be numbered, conserved, registered and ordered.

"When Pius XII's pontificate is opened, matters will be defined more closely, contexts will be provided, but nothing mysterious or surprising is expected," he said. "What will be seen is the great good that Pius XII did in relation to the Jews."