Secret archives at the Vatican will be opened for the first time on March 2, giving scholars access to documents that may shed light on the controversial figure of Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of failing to help to save Jews during World War II.
Scholars and Jewish groups have been asking for decades that the archives, which contain millions of letters, cables and correspondence from Pius XII’s pontificate from 1939 to 1958, be made available for study.
The Vatican normally waits 70 years after the death of a Pope before making his archives available for study. But Pope Francis has fast-tracked the opening of the Pius XII archives in order to help clear up the debate over the war-time pope, whose process for sainthood has been temporarily halted.
In March 2019, Francis said “the Church is not afraid of history.” The Pope said he hoped that the “hidden but active diplomacy” of Pius XII would be evaluated “in its proper light.”