Scholars throughout the world are waiting for March 2, when after decades of requests, the Vatican will open its archives on the pontificate of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958).
For his critics, he is a figure who repeatedly failed to take a strong stance against Hitler or in favor of the Jews. For his defenders, he was a spiritual leader who did his best to work silently to protect the Roman Catholic and to allow its representatives to operate in secret to help those in need.
“I believe that the opening of the archive is a symbolic gesture, I doubt that it will bring significant changes to what is known,” Prof. Manuela Consonni, chair of Holocaust Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, told The Jerusalem Post.
“I’m not saying that nothing interesting will come out of it,” she said. “I think we will find documents that will support better what we know about him.” Read More …
Opinion:“I don’t think you will find a smoking gun,” Father Norbert Hofmann, the top Vatican official in charge of religious relations with Jews, told Reuters in an interview in his office.
Of the 17 million pages, do any explore the anti-Semitism embedded in the Catholic church since the writings of Augustine in the 4th century AD?
A system of theology emerged in the early church which taught that the church had replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel.
Replacement Theology became the position of the Church during the time of Augustine (A.D. 354-430), who popularized it in his book The City of God. Initially, Augustine claimed that he was a Chiliast, one who believed in the literal thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth, the basic view of Premillennialism today.
Having come to the conclusion that this view was “inferior” and “carnal,” Augustine adopted the position that the reign of Christ should be much more “spiritual” and it would occur during this present Church Age.
Augustine’s writings on the Jews were horrific:
“Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Savior, for through their fathers they have killed Christ.”
The Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, was a contemporary of Augustine:
“the synagogue is a place worse than a brothel and a drinking shop; it was a den of scoundrels, the repair of wild beasts, a temple of demons, the refuge of brigands and debauchees, and the cavern of devils, a criminal assembly of the assassins of Christ.”
One thousand years later, that had not changed for Martin Luther:
“Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death.”
Since none of this is likely to be included in the 17 million pages, I don’t think they will find a smoking gun, either.