More than 150 historians and researchers have signed up to access the soon-to-open Vatican archives of Pope Pius XII, evidence of the intense scholarly interest into the World War II-era pope and his record during the Holocaust, officials said Thursday.
Cardinal José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, the Vatican’s chief librarian, told reporters that all researchers — regardless of nationality, faith and ideology — were welcome to request permission to use the Vatican’s Apostolic Library, which will open the archive on March 2.
“The church has no reason to fear history,” he told reporters.
Some Jewish groups and historians have said Pius, who was pope from 1939-1958, stayed silent during the Holocaust and didn’t do enough to save lives. His defenders at the Vatican and beyond say he used quiet diplomacy and encouraged convents and other religious institutes to hide Jews.
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, a great defender of Pius, accelerated the process to open the archives ahead of schedule so that researchers could have their say. Pope Francis announced the archive would be ready March 2.
Read more: AP