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Vatican to Open Secret Archives on Hitler’s Pope in 2020

Photos via Wikimedia Commons
Photos via Wikimedia Commons

The Vatican is opening files on ‘Hitler’s Pope’ almost a decade ahead of schedule.

Pope Francis has decided to open secret Vatican archives on May 2, 2020, to reveal details about the papacy of World War II era pope Pius XII. Archives of this nature are typically not released until 70 years after a pope’s death, but Francis has decided to release them about a decade early.

During WWII, thousands of Roman Jews were ripped from their homes and taken to concentration camps under the shadow of the Vatican.

As MSN News wrote, “a poignant plaque on the Via Lungara, just a stone’s throw from the gates of Vatican City, still commemorates one of the most horrific incidents: ‘On 16 October 1943 entire Jewish Roman families were ripped from their homes and brought to this place and then deported to concentration camps. Of more than 2,000 people, only 16 survived.’”

Who is Hitler’s pope?

Hitler’s pope is a controversial figure in Catholic history. While some Catholics are still enraged by his wartime actions, others say that Pius XII may have actually saved Jewish lives by never publicly condemning Hitler’s actions.

Is Pope Francis trying to send a message? According to MSN, people who know him best say that he is more concerned with the truth than with what the archives might reveal. The current pope realizes that Pius may not be cast in a favorable light, but says that the Catholic Church is not afraid of its history. Francis said that opening the archives is important so the world can see what really happened.

One of the Pope’s longtime friends, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, an Argentine rabbi and professor at the St. Joseph’s University Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations in Philadelphia told the Daily Beast, “He said he’d do it. It is that simple. This is further evidence of the commitment Bergoglio has with the truth itself, more than with the results that may emerge from any investigation of the material.”

German Pope Benedict XVI has been a steadfast supporter of Pius, even endorsing him for the church’s path to sainthood. Pius was the pope when Benedict was a boy, and Benedict has long-maintained Pius’ innocence during World War II. Benedict has staunchly supported Pius as someone who worked behind the scenes to protect Jews in Hitler’s Germany. If this proves true, the path to sainthood would likely accelerate.

The path to sainthood?

According to the Daily Beast, those close to Benedict say that his secret desire is to be alive when Pius is beatified into sainthood. Many believe that Francis is opening the archives early as a special favor to the aging and ailing Benedict, who resigned as pope in 2013. The archives must be opened before Pius can progress to sainthood.

After making the announcement, Francis met with a group from the American Jewish Committee. The pope described recent acts of anti-Semitism as a wicked form of depraved hatred. While many Catholics praise Pius’ secret diplomacy, many Jews view Pius quite differently. Jewish groups have lobbied the Vatican for over 30 years to open the archives. Francis stated that the Vatican and Jewish groups around the world have the “greatest respect for each other” despite their differing opinions about Pius. A team composed of both Vatican and Jewish experts are cataloging the documents.

What is already known about Pius?

He knew about the Holocaust as early as the summer of 1942. He was an outspoken supporter of Germany, but not necessarily to Hitler. Pius saw Germans as fighting against communism.

Without access to the secret Vatican archives, scholars have never had the full picture, and therefore have long argued about Pius’ true intentions and actions. Many say the Vatican stood by and did nothing to stop Hitler’s reign of terror. The Jews’ view is that Pius made the best tactical decision that was in the interest of the Catholic Church, despite the atrocities in the concentration camps.

During WWII, numerous countries maintained diplomatic relations with the Vatican; those countries have already made their documents available. Many of the notes of the time had a common theme: the Vatican was not doing enough to combat Hitler. Now scholars want to fill in the missing pieces.

Jews are hoping that the details provided in the secret archives will fill in some gaps in Pius’ story. Among the details many are hoping will be revealed are instructions from the Vatican during this time. How was Pius directly involved? What actions did the pope take? Who did Pius confide in?

Since the pope’s announcement, many have spoken out about Pius’ legacy. Author of The Pope and Mussolini, David Kertzer described stark similarities between the WWII scandal and the present-day sex abuse scandal wreaking havoc on the church’s reputation. Kertzer said that no matter the situation, the Vatican has proved time and time again that its first priority is protecting the institution that is the Catholic Church. Everything else comes second.

Kertzer believes that Pius was worried that the Nazis would work against the Vatican, so Pius likely worked to minimize Nazi power, but seemingly never considered the innocent Jews caught up in the whole business.

Italian Corriere della Sera journalist X Cremonesi was even more outspoken, saying that Pius believed the only good Jew was one who converted to Catholicism. Cremonesi is certain the Vatican will hide many things about Pius. The Vatican disagrees with Cremonesi; because the documents are already indexed, the Vatican librarian stated that it is impossible to cover anything up. Cremonesi has already visited the Vatican to find publicly available information on Pius during Hitler’s regime. He says there is absolutely no public reference – not even acknowledgement of classified documents.

While Pius may remain a cloudy figure, Francis’ intent is very real. The pope spoke openly about Pius’ moments of grave difficulty and tormented decisions but stated that the world must learn from history to move ahead. People close to Francis say he is not afraid to take on any challenge.

Francis is the church’s first non-European pope; as a boy in Argentina, Francis grew up amidst the nation’s Jewish population. Francis has always described the Holocaust as “an attempt to destroy God on earth” because it set about to eliminate all Jews, who were God’s creation. Many remain firm in their belief that the pope’s decision to open the archives early is an attempt to restore God for humanity.

Was Pius an unwavering diplomat who tried to save as many Jews as possible, or did he turn a blind eye to Hitler’s Holocaust? We may find out on May 20 of next year.

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Jacqueline Havelka

Jacqueline is a rocket scientist turned writer. She covers health, science and tech news for Citizen Truth. In her first career, she managed experiments & data on the Space Station & Shuttle.

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6 Comments

  1. Ray Dubuque March 22, 2019

    I was once so much like Pius XII that when joined the Dominican Order, I was given the name of “Bro. Pius”. By the time I was 33 years old, the 24 years of mostly free education the Church had given me made me smart enough to recognize how preposterous its claims were of being the best and holiest of churches on earth, under the leadership of divinely appointed “vicars of Christ”.
    I’ve spent much of the past 20 years studying the tragic behavior of Pope Pius XII, not just in Germany, but in Italy, Spain, Croatia, and even here in the U.S.A. And if the R.C. Church ignores the history that I lay out at http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/MoralRelativism-RC-Style , and proceeds to canonize “Hitler’s Pope”, it will demonstrate once again what mother of lies that it has been for centuries.

    Reply
  2. Tom April 29, 2019

    Germany wasn’t the enemy…communism was and while we’re at it, the holocaust is a huge lie. Watch the Hidden History of the incredible Evil Khazarian Mafia. Explains everything and Europa: The Last Battle. The official Academia is pure fiction. They lie about everything.

    Reply
    1. Vicki September 5, 2019

      My parents survived WW2 in Europe. My father a Romanian born in 1927 in Romania, a deserter because he was raised to respect life and not kill. My mother, born in Ukraine in 1927 to a German father who worked for Hermann Wilhelm Göring in his factory. My mother was very fortunate her father was a well educated German of English aristocrate descent, was needed by the NAZI regime for his skill as a master toolmaker. Had he not been so her entire family would of perished during the Ukrainian holocaust known as the ‘Holodomor which you also possible believe to of not happened. My mother witnessed humans eating their own children, innocent woman raped and attacked, her Jewish friends tortured and hung. Her family had to move to work camps after their home in Germany was bombed and burnt. She finished her education in Germany and became a pharmacist. I own her documents and photos from that time. One of her sisters became a industrial chemist. Throughout my life I heard of their horrible first hand experiences of what they saw happening to the Jewish community, the chemicals that were feed to them and stories that caused my mother to have many breakdowns during her life. Tom you must be an avid reader of theories and fairy stories. It’s sad you make yourself look so foolish and uneducated by such ridiculous comments. Please get a job that allows you to travel and see proof of the horrible history you call a lie. Lies sell books and give closed minded people something to talk about.

  3. Heywood Jablomi April 29, 2019

    1492 Spain about to happen again. Muslims and Jews will be restricted to Southern Shore of Mediterranean Sea. I believe that this is a end game of a plan. Inquisition II?

    Reply

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