VATICAN CITY (CNS): A Jesuit historian involved in Pope Pius XII’s cause for beatification said the Vatican had nothing to hide in its archives regarding the pope’s conduct during World War II.
Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel criticised members of the Catholic-Jewish historical commission and Jewish leaders who complained that a thorough study of the pope’s conduct could not be made without access to the archives.
The priest made his statement after members of the commission announced they were suspending their work.
Some members of the historical commission, the leadership of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations and Israel’s deputy foreign minister called for open access to the archives.
Fr Gumpel said the Vatican archivist, Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, personally explained to the scholars that material from Pope Pius’ pontificate – ‘more than 3 million pages’ – had not yet been catalogued or classified and therefore could not be consulted.
Fr Gumpel said that if the scholars had read the available material carefully, they would have seen that Pope Pius ‘made every possible effort to save as many lives as possible, without any distinction’.