Irish cardinal backs opening of Pope Pius XII archives

Irish cardinal backs opening of Pope Pius XII archives Cardinal Timothy Dolan

An Irish cardinal has praised Pope Francis’ recent announcement regarding the opening of the Vatican Secret Archives from the wartime pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

“I am grateful to His Holiness for taking this welcome step and allowing scholars to examine the records of Pope Pius XII’s pontificate during the Second World War,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said yesterday in a statement as co-chair of the U. Conference of catholic Bishops’ dialogue with the National Council of Synagogues.

“Along with our Jewish partners and colleagues, I have previously called for access to these files. Today, we look forward to the 2020 opening of the archives,” the cardinal added.

Researchers, particularly those interested in Catholic-Jewish relations, have pressed the Vatican to open the archives and allow a full study of Pope Pius’ actions during the war, including what he did or failed to do for Jews during the Holocaust.

Declaring that the Catholic Church is unafraid of history, Pope Francis announced that the documents will be open to scholars in 2020.

“The church is not afraid of history, on the contrary, she loves it and would like to love it more and better, just as she loves God. Therefore, with the same confidence as my predecessors, I open and entrust to researchers” this wealth of documents, Pope Francis said.

He met March 4 with supervisors, staff members and assistants working at the Vatican Secret Archives during an audience to mark the 80th anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s election March 2, 1939.

As a U.S. leader in Catholic-Jewish relations, Cardinal Dolan has actively called for the release of these documents since becoming archbishop of New York in 2009.

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