Vatican Publishes Response to Judeo-Catholic Panel

Wartime Archives Are Yet to Be Cataloged

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 7, 2001 ( The Vatican Press Office today officially published the declaration signed by historian Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel explaining why the Vatican isn´t able to open all its World War II archives right now.

Jewish and Catholic members of a historians panel had been studying the Vatican archives relating to Pius XII´s wartime activities. Father Gumpel in his declaration explained that not all 3 million pages of documents have been catalogued yet, and therefore are not available to scholars.

In the declaration, which was first published July 26 by ZENIT, Father Gumpel, postulator of the cause of beatification of Pius XII, complains about news leaks by a commission member which have seriously compromised the group´s work.

He also noted that Eugene Fisher, the group´s coordinator, said it would have been difficult to write a summary report of the group´s work, given the disparity of the members´ judgments.

The commission was established in 1999 to respond to accusations against Pope Pius XII´s alleged failure to condemn Nazi atrocities publicly. The group included three Jewish and three Catholic historians, who were reduced to two when Eva Fleishner resigned.

In a statement published at the end of July, Cardinal William Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore and moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, attested to additional news leaks.

The «Coordinator of the Jewish side, Mr. Seymour Reich, Chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation, has released to the press the group´s joint letter to Cardinal Kasper and used the occasion to misrepresent its content in his press release,» Cardinal Keeler said in the statement.

Cardinal Keeler requested the commission, as well as Catholics and Jews, to continue with the dialogue and not politicize the Holocaust.

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