Pope Francis will open the Vatican archives from the era of Pius XII in order to determine if the controversial pontiff, who has been accused of failing to speak up during the Holocaust, can be considered for sainthood, according to a report in The Sunday Times.
The newspaper quotes a close friend of Francis, Argentinean rabbi
Abraham Skorka, as saying that the pope will follow through on his
promise to examine Pius' wartime role.
Prior to ascending to the papacy, Francis, who was known as Cardinal
Bergoglio expressed his position on the issue in his book, On Heaven and
Earth, which he co-wrote with Skorka in 2010.
"Opening the archives of the Shoah [Holocaust] seems reasonable," the
future pope wrote. "Let them be opened up and let everything be cleared
up. Let it be seen if they could have done something [to help] and
until what point they could have helped."
“If they made a mistake in any aspect of this we would have to say:
‘We have erred.’ We don’t have to be scared of this — the truth has to
be the goal.”
Pius has been accused by Jewish groups of remaining silent and
allowing Jews to be slaughtered by the Nazis, a charge denied by the
Vatican, which insists that he saved many Jews during the Holocaust.
The Vatican confirmed earlier this month that Pope Francis would
visit Israel this year, which would make him only the fourth pontiff to
visit the Holy Land in the modern era.
The visit comes during a period of dramatic outreach for the Roman
Catholic Church under Francis – not only to other faiths but also to
groups often marginalized by the church in the past – and fairly early
in Francis’s papacy.
Francis will have been pope for just over 14 months when he travels
to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank on May 24-25. Only Paul VI, who
became the first modern pope to visit Jerusalem six months into his
papacy in 1964, made such a trip so early in his reign.
But Paul’s trip
came before the Vatican even recognized Israel as a sovereign state.
Pius' beatification has been a sore subject in Jewish-Catholic
Thus far, Pius has passed two of the four stages necessary to