According to a communiqué made public today, signed by Jesuit Father Marcel Chappin, keeper of the Historical Archives of the Secretariat of State, and Barnabite Father Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, "this opening, which had already been desired by John Paul II, ... makes available to historical research, within the limits of the regulations, all documentary sources up to February 1939, conserved in the various series of archives of the Holy See, and principally in the Vatican Secret Archives and in the Archives of the Second Section of the Secretariat of State (formerly the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs)."
The pontificate of Pius XI took place between February 6, 1922 and February 10, 1939, and thus fell between the two World Wars. His reign was aimed, in large part, at reestablishing the role of the Church in the world. Prior to his death Pope Pius was scheduled to make a strong statement against Fascism. Following his death, the text of his statement was mysteriously lost. Some hope that the release of Pope Pius’s documents may shed further light on the role his pontificate played in opposition to the growing ideologies of Fascism.
.- Benedict XVI has decreed that as of September 18 - when the Vatican Secret Archives and other archives of the Holy See resume activities after the summer vacation - all documents related to the pontificate of Pope Pius XI will be made available to researchers.