The online notice said previous reservations to work in the archives are considered canceled and scholars will have to submit new requests for the four-week opening.
The Vatican Apostolic Archive, formerly called the "secret archive," is an office which preserves documents and books of historical and cultural importance to the Church and to the world. Since 1881 the archive has been open to qualified researchers on request.
March 2, with Pope Francis' decree, access was extended to include the archives of the pontificate of Venerable Pius XII, which spanned March 1939 to October 1958, and it is the first time scholars had been granted access to the approximately 16 million documents they contain.
The opening of the Pius XII archives was highly anticipated, and researchers hoped study of the files could bring to light new information about Venerable Pope Pius XII's actions during World War II, which have been hotly debated.
Some historians criticize the pope for not making a more explicit denunciation of Hitler and the Nazis. Others point to his role in drafting "Mit brennender Sorge," the 1937 encyclical to the Church in Germany, and the limits imposed on him by the Lateran Treaty.
Shortly before its opening, the Vatican apostolic archive had received requests for access from more than 150 scholars from around the world. At the time, a maximum of 60 people were permitted to enter per day.