Secret Archives from Pius XII's time to be organized by 2015

Documents regarding the activities of the Holy See during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII will be organized in the Vatican archives within five years. The head of the Secret Archives says that only "technical" issues are keeping them from being made available for study.

In an interview with the Italian-language Il Messaggero newspaper, the Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Bishop Sergio Pagano, said that work is underway to catalogue and organize the 16 million pages produced by the Holy See from 1939 - 1958.

Bishop Pagano explained that there is a complete absence of "political" motives for the lack of access to the documents, and that the files are currently unavailable for "technical" reasons. The problems derive from the difficulty involved in creating an inventory of "a very extensive mass of paper, originating from 19 years of pontificate."

Bishop Pagano estimated that the "technical preparation" would be completed for documents proceeding from the pontificate of Pius XII by 2014-15, "then," he added, "it will be the Holy Father who makes a decision regarding the opening."

Pope Benedict XVI, he said, "is kept constantly informed" of their progress.

There has been great interest in seeing the documents since they span the years of World War II and will shed light on the internal Vatican activities during that time. In particular, Jewish leaders and other researchers are interested in discovering the extent of Pope Pius XII's involvement in helping shelter Jews from the Nazi persecution.

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