5-Year Timeline Proposed for Pius XII Archives

VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- According to the prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, the documents regarding Pius XII and his actions to help Jews during World War II could be ready for release in five years.

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Bishop Sergio Pagano gave a five to six year timeline to complete the cataloguing of the documents. He spoke of the work today during a briefing about the release of a new volume on documents pertaining to the Galileo case.

The prelate said the Pope will determine the exact publication date for the Pius XII documents, but that date depends on the completion of the work to catalogue the some 16 million documents from the 1939-1958 pontificate.

Bishop Pagano said there are more than 700 boxes of documents from the Secretariat of State and nunciatures, which have evidence of Pius XII’s charitable efforts during the war.

“Whoever approached him — soldiers, prisoners, pastors who had had their churches destroyed […] — the Pope helped them with incredible charity,” the prefect said. He added that the Holy See distributed great sums of money during and after the war.

Bishop Pagano noted that there are documents detailing the conditions of the prisons during the war, and “letters from the nuncios describing the situations of the prisoners,” as well as statements explaining the Church’s efforts to help.

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