ROME, JAN. 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The work of four people over four years will make possible the opening in 2006 of the voluminous Vatican archives relating to Pius XI’s pontificate.
The pontificate, which ran from 1922 to 1939, includes the events leading into World War II, including the rise to power of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin.
“Pius XI resolved the ‘Roman question’ with the Lateran Pacts, protected and enhanced Catholic Action, celebrated the 1925 Jubilee and the Extraordinary Jubilee of 1933-34, planned an enormous missionary project that extended to China, and carried out his action toward the East,” said the prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Father Sergio Pagano, in an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire.
Pius XI also “looked at science with new eyes, [and] established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and several countries around the world,” the priest said. “All this and much more is reflected in the documents of his pontificate which will be made available to historians.”
The Barnabite priest recalled that a 2002 communiqué stated that, after the opening of the files of Pius XI’s pontificate, work would be done to give priority access to the Vatican-German documentary sources relating to Pius XII’s pontificate (1939-1958) and already published in part by order of Paul VI, in 12 volumes of the “Actes et Documents du Saint-Siège Relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale.”
To this is added the fund of the Office of Vatican Information for Prisoners of War, open since last May, which comprises documents from 1939 to 1947, the result of the work of seven people over three years.
In addition, for more than a year, the archives have been open “of the nunciatures of Munich and Berlin up to 1939,” added Father Pagano.