Vatican Responds to Criticism by Holocaust Researchers

VATICAN, Aug 7, 01 ( - A Vatican historian researching the life of Pope Pius XII accused some members of a joint Catholic-Jewish Holocaust commission of mounting a "slanderous campaign" against the Catholic Church.

Father Peter Gumpel, a German Jesuit working for the cause for the beatification of the wartime pope, said material available to the committee showed that Pope Pius "made every possible effort to save as many lives as possible, without any distinction."

A group of committee members released a preliminary report last month--which some other committee members said was not reviewed by the whole group-- that criticized the Vatican for not opening all of its World War II-era archives for their viewing. The Vatican has maintained that the archives must remain closed to protect the privacy of sacramental matters and that all documents pertinent to their investigation had been made available to them.

Father Gumpel said he had met with the group and answered some of their questions and offered to answer the rest at another session, but that this was ignored. It was therefore disconcerting, he said, that in the following months "some Jewish members in the group had systematically affirmed that they never received answers to their questions."

He also said it was "false" that the Vatican does not intend to open up its archives, saying this will be done as soon as they are ready and the private matters are separated from the public documents. Father Gumpel said several though not all the Jewish members of the commission had "publicly spread the suspicion" that the Holy See was trying to hide documents "that in their judgment could be compromising."

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
7. august 2001

av Webmaster publisert 13.08.2001, sist endret 13.08.2001 - 13:47