Israel reqests Vatican wartime archives on Pius XII be opened
Open the Vatican’s WWII archives so that questions about the WW II papacy of Pius XII can be answered and Catholic/Jewish tension reduced, was Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom’s request to Pope Benedict on Sunday.
This shortly after the pope’s visit to the main Jewish synagogue in Rome, Italy, where by way of welcome the president of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, told him “the silence of Pius XII before the Shoah [Holocaust], still hurts because something should have been done.
“Maybe it would not have stopped the death trains, but it would have sent a signal, a word of extreme comfort, of human solidarity, towards those brothers of ours transported to the ovens of Auschwitz,” Pacifici said.
The pope replied that the Vatican helped Jews and “provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way.” He also asked forgiveness for the church’s contribution to anti-Semitism and urged Jews and Christians “to come together to strengthen the bonds which unite us and to continue to travel together along the path of reconciliation and fraternity.”
Israel’s answer, then, is something like “Good. Prove it.” And a review of Reuter’s timeline of Vatican-Jewish relations shows how the rising Catholic/Jewish tension of the Joseph Ratzinger papacy led to Israel’s request and provoked some (notably Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, president of Italy’s rabbinical assembly) to boycott the pope’s visit to the Rome synagogue. They were aware that the pope had been unilaterally invited, but would not accept his “clarification” of the decision to recognize the “heroic virtues” of Pius XII.
Tension over the matter can also be seen in B’nai B’rith Europe’s online petition opposing beatification of Pius XII.
The issue also provoked a request in 2005 by Jewish leaders to open the Vatican’s WW II archives when Pope Benedict visited the Cologne 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. 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 catalog an enormous mass of documentation, something which still requires a number of years’ work.
Six and a half decades after the close of the period in question?
One need not be Jewish to wonder why the archives would not be opened now when it is clear that there is not only no resolution like well-verified truth, but also no likely resolution to this matter but a public review of those archival materials.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.