That said, and recognizing the public-relations disaster that the Church faced if no agreement were to be reached, the pope sought to place responsibility for the deal on Cardinal Gerlier. It had been Fritz’s wish, his sister-in-law told Brun, that if anything were to happen to him and Anni, his sisters would look after the boys. “The persecution of the Jews that the Holy See justly deplores is one thing,” Dell’Acqua advised the pope, “especially when it is carried out with certain methods, and quite another thing is to be wary of the Jews’ influence: this can be quite opportune.” Indeed, the Vatican-overseen Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, had been repeatedly warning of the need for government laws to restrict the rights of the Jews in order to protect Christian society from their alleged depredations. A few registers of earlier popes also survive, including John VIII (r. 872–882) and Gregory VII (r. Robert and Gérald later recounted that they saw Brun only a couple of times a year, for brief visits. Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, assessore of the Holy Office, had brought the text in mid-March to show the pontiff. An entire section of the archives relating to the personal affairs of cardinals from 1922 onwards cannot be accessed. The pope apparently thought this worth considering, at least in some form; two days later, Montini prepared a message to the nuncio in Paris, complaining about Cardinal Gerlier and asking for his opinion on whether going ahead with the proposed article would be a good idea. A journalist at the Vatican’s own L’Osservatore Romano was charged with drafting it, and the final text was edited by the Holy Office. “Some newspapers,” he wrote, “are reporting that the Finaly brothers will soon be taken to Israel to be reeducated in Judaism. But Richard’s wife, Auguste, had escaped to safety in Britain. The Holy See might be able to support an agreement, but only if certain guarantees were given with respect to the little ones’ Faith. Dell’Acqua offered a suggestion.  His predecessor Marino Marini had produced an account of Galileo's trials that failed to satisfy scholars who saw it as an apology for the Inquisition. Nor, thought the monsignor, was it wise for the Vatican to be saying, as Tacchi Venturi had proposed, that there existed no “Aryan environment” in Italy that was “decisively hostile toward the Jewish milieu.” After all, Dell’Acqua wrote, “there was no lack in the history of Rome of measures adopted by the Pontiffs to limit the influence of the Jews.” He also appealed to the pope’s eagerness not to antagonize the Germans. In its February 24 report, the Holy Office added its own cautious support for the negotiation. Volume 9, devoted to how the Holy See sought to help the victims of the war in the year 1943, contains 492 documents. In fact, Herzog sought a public call for the release of all Jewish children being kept from their families. As of that September, much of Italy was under German control, aided by a Mussolini-led puppet government established in the north. The silence of Pius XII during the Holocaust has long engendered bitter debates about the Roman Catholic Church and Jews. “I observed,” the papal emissary wrote in reporting the conversation to Montini, “that he dared to ask too much. Originally founded in 1612 after Pope Paul V ordered all church records to be stored in one place, the Vatican Secret Archive contains all the acts promulgated by the Holy See. Pope Francis has decided to open secret Vatican archives on May 2, 2020, to reveal details about the papacy of World War II era pope Pius XII.Archives of this nature are typically not released until 70 years after a pope’s death, but Francis has decided to release them about a decade early. In early 1953, the photograph of a prominent nun being arrested was splashed across the front pages of French newspapers. A little less than a year later, in early February 1945, with France now under Allied control, Fritz Finaly’s sister Marguerite, who had found refuge in New Zealand, wrote to the mayor of the town outside Grenoble where Fritz had lived to learn the fate of her brother and his family. Italy’s Jews, Tacchi Venturi argued, did not present the grounds for serious government concern that they clearly did elsewhere. Here’s an example: This is, officially, “Urb.lat.1, (the document’s codifier) The case sparked intense public controversy. That is why I have opened the archives to you. Thousands of Jewish orphans were scattered around the continent. “With all likelihood,” Dell’Acqua wrote, “the court proceedings in course will finish in favor of the Judaic thesis and the two young boys will end up in the hands of the Jews who, with ever greater ruthless obstinacy, will force a ‘Jewish’ education on them, with the resulting humiliation (at least in the eyes of a part of the wider public) of the Catholic Church.”, Read: The Holocaust and the Catholic Church, Any agreement, thought the monsignor, had to ensure the boys’ ability to continue their Catholic education. When she heard what had happened, she immediately secured immigration permits for the two boys to join her in New Zealand. The cardinal secretary of the Holy Office then wrote directly, in French, to Cardinal Gerlier, giving the Holy Office ruling: The dangers for their faith, should they be returned to this Jewish aunt, requires careful consideration of the following consequences: What this meant, the cardinal secretary of the Holy Office advised Gerlier, was spelled out in the opinion the consultants had offered, which he appended. David I. Kertzer: What the Vatican’s secret archives are about to reveal. The newly available Vatican documents, reported here for the first time, offer fresh insights into larger questions of how the Vatican thought about and reacted to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews, and into the Vatican’s mindset immediately after the war about the Holocaust, the Jewish people, and the Roman Catholic Church’s role and prerogatives as an institution. First, Kubowitzki had asked the pope to issue a public declaration denouncing anti-Semitism. The lives they have lived in Israel have been remarkably uneventful. Although he was presumably eager to see the pope, it was Angelo Dell’Acqua he got to meet with, a meeting the monsignor then reported on in a memo for Pius XII. The fact that Mussolini’s regime relied heavily on Church materials—its newspapers and magazines filled with references to the measures popes had taken over the centuries to protect “healthy” Christian society from the threat posed by the Jews—to justify its anti-Semitic laws led to little rethinking of Church doctrine or practice under his papacy. His father had been a member in Parliament of the moderate Catholic Italian Popular Party until Mussolini abolished all non-Fascist parties in 1926. The team behind In Codice Ratio tried to solve this problem by developing a machine-learning software that could parse this handwriting. Now, as he wrote to the pope in mid-January 1953, in a letter found in the newly opened Vatican archives, he feared what the press reaction would be if the appeals court ruled against Brun and the Church: “The seriousness of the problem results notably from the fact that a profound agitation of public opinion is being created and growing around this affair. The pope met March 4 with supervisors, staff members and assistants working at the Vatican Secret Archives during an audience to mark the 80th anniversary of … This article is more than 1 year old. The agreement, he told the nuncio, could only be reached “after having taken the opportune precautions to ensure that they [the boys] are not prompted to become Jews again.” Montini added a final instruction in his coded telegram to the nuncio: “E’ bene che S.O. At the same time, concealing her knowledge of the existence of any Finaly relatives, Brun got a local judge to name her the provisional guardian of the boys, now 3 and 4 years old. The charge: kidnapping two young Jewish boys, Robert and Gérald Finaly, whose parents had perished in a Nazi death camp. Le Monde, typical of much of the French media, devoted 178 articles in the first half of the year to the story of the brothers—secretly baptized at the direction of the Catholic woman who had cared for them—and the desperate attempts by surviving relatives to get them back. , The Vatican Apostolic Archive has been estimated to contain 85 kilometres (53 mi) of shelving, with 35,000 volumes in the selective catalogue alone.. The Jewish leader then had come to his second request, asking for the pope’s help in ensuring that the Jewish orphans of the Holocaust living in Catholic countries be returned to the Jewish community. By then, the boys were 10 and 11. This was the same man who—under his given name, Giovanni Montini—had spent months managing the Vatican’s dealings on the Finaly affair a dozen years earlier. After pointing out the Holy See’s unhappiness over the lack of sufficient guarantees provided in the draft agreement, Montini added, “If, however, the cardinal, considering the circumstances, believes he is able to assume responsibility for the execution of the agreement, the Holy Office does not oppose it and will give promised support for finding the boys.”, At the same time, the head of the liberal branch of Judaism in France, Rabbi André Zaoui, came to Rome to plead on behalf of the Finaly family. “We will consider it,” the pope had replied, although he would not, in the end, make any such declaration. The various places where the archives were kept along the way were sacked by the Ghibellines three separate times, in 1314, 1319, and 1320. A Holy Office note discovered in the archives, presumably written by one of the consultants, offered some historical background: “According to the practice of the Holy Office up until the suppression of the Papal States in 1870, Jewish children baptized without their parents’ permission were not returned.” Given the sense of urgency conveyed by Cardinal Gerlier, the Holy Office took up the Finaly matter immediately. The memoranda, steeped in anti-Semitic language, involve discussions at the highest level about whether the pope should lodge a formal protest against the actions of Nazi authorities in Rome. , There are other Holy See archives in Rome, since each department of the Roman Curia has its own archives. Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican City Support: parchment; gold seal attached by a cord of red silk and gilded threads.  Scholarly access was briefly interrupted following the dissolution of the Papal States in 1870, when archive officials restricted access to assert their control against competing claims by the victorious Italian state. jubilee 2000. official acts of the holy see. Robert became a doctor, just like his father. For Pope Pius XII, who read Cardinal Gerlier’s plea for guidance in January 1953, the issue was not a new one. The agreement, the pope thought, did not offer sufficient assurances that the boys would not come under Jewish influence and revert to their parents’ religion. I guess they confused "Secret Archives" with "Restricted Archives". , On 28 October 2019, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio dated 22 October changing the name Vatican Secret Archive to Vatican Apostolic Archive.. Montini’s ties with Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII, could scarcely have been stronger. We are very pleased to announce that the project Web Thematic Pathways of Medieval Manuscripts (from the Vatican Collections using International Image Interoperability Framework), is now live. Anni and Fritz Finaly had made it to within months of the Allied liberation of France when the Gestapo seized them and sent them to their death. What could possibly be in there? Several months later, on March 10, 1946, the pope received another distinguished Jewish visitor, the Polish-born, thickly bearded chief rabbi of Palestine, Isaac Herzog. While the Minister of Foreign Affairs seems to be favorable to the desired solution, those under him come up with various pretexts to avoid the conclusion.” Indeed, the excuse that the Spanish officials repeatedly gave for their inaction was that it was Spanish Basque monks who were hiding the Finaly boys and they did not want to further inflame the government’s already tense relations with that region. Applicants need to provide their personal data (name, address, etc. Informed that the police were now looking for Robert and Gérald and afraid that they would not be safe as long as they remained in France, Mother Antonine made her way to Bayonne to discuss the matter with the local bishop.  When the German Protestant historian Theodor von Sickel, in April 1883, published the results of his research in the archive that defended the Church against charges of forgery,[c] Pope Leo was further persuaded. “In the Note the mistreatment to which the Jews are allegedly being subject by the German Authorities is highlighted.  Given how vast the archives are, however, this means that only a small fraction of the total content of the Archives is available online; an even smaller percentage has been transcribed into searchable computer text. Yet, although heavily identified with his patron, Montini had a mind of his own. ), as well as the purpose of their research. He had been promised their return, the rabbi said, but now, almost three months later, Catholic clergy were still hiding them. , Parts of the archive do, however, remain truly secret (or "classified" in a modern context). Following his conversation with the pope, Montini had added a clause to the language proposed by the Holy Office to make it even clearer that the children must be free to continue to practice their Catholic religion. In the aftermath of this traumatic event, and amid a continuing roundup of Jews throughout German-controlled Italy, the pope’s longtime Jesuit emissary to the Italian Fascist regime, Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, proposed that some kind of Vatican protest be made. , Early in the 21st century, the Vatican Apostolic Archives began an in-house digitization project, to attempt to both make the documents more available to researchers and to help to preserve aging physical documents.. What should the pope do now? Marguerite wrote to Brun to thank her for taking care of her nephews and to ask for her assistance in arranging for their travel. The ambassador came on behalf of his government to ask the pope to issue a public plea to all good Catholics to assist in finding the Finaly boys and to disassociate himself from the monks and nuns who had hidden them. In 1809 he ordered the entire Vatican Archive transferred to Paris and by 1813 more than 3,000 crates had been shipped with only modest losses. Government has on alien existence. It likewise expresses the fear that these boys’ Catholic education will come to be compromised, contrary to the spirit of an agreement signed by the representatives of the family and those of the ecclesiastical authorities, and to which the latter have remained faithful.”. This the pope ordered done. In the first century of Christianity, the Church was already assembling a sizable collection of records. But that openness belies a … Popes would also have multiple places of residency. Shortly after that, Mother Antonine, charged with kidnapping, was herself imprisoned. ET on September 22, 2020. Their program eventually achieved 96% accuracy in parsing this type of text. The new discoveries provide ample grounds to believe that the full story of Pius XII and the Jews remains to be written. * This article previously suggested that Rabbi Isaac Herzog requested that the Vatican issue a public call for the release of the Finaly boys specifically.  Between the 11th and the 13th centuries, a large part of these archives disappeared. If in some way it appeared that the boys were being returned due to the direct intervention of the Holy See, that might, at least in some countries, be judged unfavorably.” In other words, Church traditionalists familiar with Catholic doctrine might be displeased with the pope should he be seen calling for the return of the boys to their Jewish family. They confided the boys’ whereabouts to their friend Marie Paupaert, asking her to look out for the children in the event of their own arrest. The grandeur is obvious. After reporting the rabbi’s request, Dell’Acqua offered his advice on how the pope should respond to what he called this “rather delicate problem.” He began by ruling out any public statement by the pope or the Vatican. In light of the publication of this massive trove of documents, the claim has been made that nothing much new will be learned about the pope’s silence during the Holocaust from the recent opening of the Vatican archives. The text he wrote, newly discovered in the archives and reprinted verbatim in translation at the end of this article, was titled “Verbal Note on the Jewish Situation in Italy.”, The thrust of the plea was far from pro-Jewish. 1073–1085). Fritz had also had an older brother, Richard, who had remained in Vienna and perished in the Holocaust. Still the boys could not be found.  While character-recognition software is adept at reading typed text, the cramped and many-serifed style of medieval handwriting makes distinguishing individual characters difficult for the software. The commitment of Pope Pius XII and the men of the curia to prevent the Finaly family from gaining custody of the children was tempered only by concerns about bad press, a worry constantly highlighted by Cardinal Gerlier in his increasingly urgent pleas to Rome. The 1798 Treaty of Tolentino made even greater demands and the works sent to Paris included the Codex Vaticanus, the oldest extant manuscript of the Bible in Greek. ", In 1979, historian Carlo Ginzburg sent a letter to the newly-elected Pope John Paul II, asking that the archives of the Holy Office (the Roman Inquisition) be opened. In the 17th century, under the orders of Pope Paul V, the Secret Archive was separated from the Vatican Library, where scholars had some very limited access, and remained closed to outsiders until the late 19th century, when Pope Leo XIII opened the archive to researchers, more than a thousand of whom now examine some of its documents each year. Over the next several weeks, other French clergy—monks and nuns—would also be arrested. The word "secret" continues to be used in this older, original sense in English in phrases such as "secret servants", "secret cupbearer", "secret carver", or "secretary", much like an esteemed position of honour and regard comparable to a VIP. compendium of the social doctrine of the church Ultimately, Edgardo Mortara became a monk, traveling through Europe and America as he preached in several languages and tried to convert Jews. Pope Paul VI made the records of the Second Vatican Council available not long after it ended. Montini did, however, send a written protest in late September to the French government through its ambassador to the Vatican. She pleaded with Brun to show pity for a family that had been so recently torn apart. “Even the chief rabbis lent themselves to these harmful suspicions with words that, apart from every other consideration, betrayed the most absolute lack of recognition for all that the Catholics had done in these years for the Jews, running the risk of the most serious personal dangers and without asking for anything, simply out of Christian charity.”. It seems is called “DVL” or “DigiValLib”, for Digital Vatican Library. When the Popes moved to Avignon, the process of transporting their archives took twenty years, all told. But since at present this is not happening in Italy, one does not understand why and what need there is to return to a question that Mussolini’s Government considered already taken care of. Carter intends to publicly reveal all the information The U. By the time Napoleon became emperor in 1804, he envisaged a central archive in Paris of the records and treasures of Europe. The Vatican Secret Archives is one of the grandest historical collections in the world. Again Brun refused. This resulted, from 1965 to 1981, in the publication of 12 volumes filled with thousands of documents. ), The following year, the family made another attempt to have Robert and Gérald returned, this time by confronting Brun in person. The Vatican is opening files on ‘Hitler’s Pope’ almost a decade ahead of schedule. The archives are in fact made up of the private letters and historic records of past popes over the past four centuries. The Jewish press, he wrote in a memo for the pope on July 29, was casting the outcome of the Finaly affair as a victory. That is in contrast with the agreements that Cardinal Gerlier concluded some time ago.” He instructed the nuncio to call the cardinal’s attention to this fact and to report back on his response. * “That,” the rabbi told him, “would immensely facilitate our task.”, David I. Kertzer: The doctored ‘memoir’ of a Jewish boy kidnapped by the Vatican. What the pope did next has not, until the opening of the Vatican archives this year, been known. It would only be after Pius XII’s death that Church attitudes toward the Jews would change in a meaningful way, thanks to his successor John XXIII, who convened a Vatican Council devoted in part to rooting out the vestiges of medieval Church doctrine on the Jews. On June 22, the French ambassador followed up with a memo he gave to Montini, which Montini in turn quickly forwarded to the nuncio in Madrid: “The Governor of San Sebastián [in Spain’s Basque region] continues to think … that the Spanish Basque clergy have the last word and that ‘without a formal order from Rome, the boys will remain in the shadows.’” The French government, the ambassador reported, found the Church’s failure to abide by the terms of Cardinal Gerlier’s agreement for the return of Robert and Gérald a matter of growing concern. Shockingly, the Church’s position on baptism remains unchanged even now: “An infant of Catholic parents or even of non-Catholic parents is baptized licitly in danger of death even against the will of the parents.”, The Finaly case was not unlike that of Edgardo Mortara. The Vatican Secret Archives was a great documentary about the archives. In later centuries, as the Church amassed power, popes would visit heads of state to negotiate treaties or make political appearances around Europe. The article, published on July 9, explained that any claim that the accord reached between Cardinal Gerlier and the Finaly family would permit taking the boys to Israel and becoming Jewish was erroneous. If there was any distance between Pius XII and Montini in the actions taken in the Finaly affair, I have not found any trace of it in the Vatican archives. In 1941, Robert, the Finalys’ first child, was born, followed by Gérald 15 months later. What was not known at the time—and what, in fact, could not be known until the opening, earlier this year, of the Vatican archives covering the papacy of Pius XII—is the central role that the Vatican and the pope himself played in the kidnapping drama.  The vast majority of these documents are now lost, but we know of them through references in contemporary and later works. The Holy See, Montini wrote, could only “express its great regret for the solution that was given to this affair without considering the religious interest of the two baptized youths. While Jews throughout the lands in which the pope ruled as king had long lived in fear of just such a fate for their children, times were changing, and Edgardo’s abduction set off a worldwide protest. Montini reported that he had already spoken with the French foreign minister and sent the nuncio the instructions to agree to a settlement as long as it accorded with the Holy Office requirements. Could the pope remain silent if the continuing deportation of Italy’s Jews to the death camps continued? The Vatican is set to open the secret archives of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope whose record during the Holocaust has come under intense scrutiny. The Vatican helped direct efforts by local Church authorities to resist French court rulings and to keep the boys hidden, while at the same time carefully concealing the role that Rome was playing behind the scenes. Finally, it advised that in whatever action Gerlier took, no mention be made of the role being played behind the scenes by the Vatican, “so as not to compromise the Holy See in such a delicate and sensational dispute.”. In 2017, a project based in Roma Tre University called In Codice Ratio began using artificial intelligence and optical character recognition to attempt to transcribe more documents from the archives. Despite a mounting official campaign against the Jews in France, the Finalys had both boys circumcised, in accordance with Jewish law, eight days after birth. When the family learned of the baptism, they turned for help to a Jewish family friend who lived in Grenoble, Moïse Keller. Insight into Dell’Acqua’s attitudes toward the Jews is now available to us thanks to documents from the archives. Four days later, a greatly relieved French ambassador called the Secretariat of State and got through to Dell’Acqua: The Finaly boys had just been handed over at San Sebastián to Germaine Ribière, the woman who had been shuttling back and forth across the border on Cardinal Gerlier’s behalf, trying to find them. The Spanish monks hiding the boys, Cardinal Gerlier wrote Rome, were still claiming that the pope was not eager to see them returned. The proposed Vatican statement argued that Mussolini’s racial laws, instituted five years earlier, had successfully kept the Jews in their proper place, and as a result there was no need for any violent measures to be taken against them. The single document published there on the episode is Cardinal Maglione’s somewhat cryptic comment in response to Tacchi Venturi’s proposal: “It is not the case to send Father Tacchi Venturi’s note (which would in any case have to be redone) nor even a more delicate note by us.” Dell’Acqua is not mentioned at all. Updated at 6:06 p.m. Pope says new name for trove of priceless papers will be the Vatican Apostolic Archives. , Initially, the archival materials of the Church were stored at the Lateran Palace, then the official papal residence.. Better, he advised, to speak in more general terms to the German ambassador to the Holy See, “recommending to him that the already grave situation of the Jews not be aggravated further.”, Dell’Acqua, who, during the early course of the Finaly affair would himself be elevated to the rank of sostituto of the Secretariat of State, one of the most prestigious positions at the Vatican, and would later become cardinal vicar of Rome, ended his memo to the pope with advice for the Jews who kept making so much noise about the dangers they faced and the horrors they had already experienced: “One should also let the Jewish Signori know that they should speak a little less and act with great prudence.”, It was this prelate who met with Isaac Herzog, the chief rabbi of Palestine, a little over two years later. The true name of the Vatican's clandestine intelligence service is Santa Alleanza ("Holy Alliance") or L'Entità ("The Entity") according to Allen Dulles, the first director of the CIA. Deeming the children too young to care for, the sisters took them to the local municipal nursery school, whose director, Antoinette Brun, middle-aged and unmarried, agreed to look after them. Mr. Ventresca is one of the many scholars who have eagerly awaited the opening of the Vatican’s secret archives from the papacy of Pope Pius XII, which spanned from 1939 to … Pope Pius XII was undoubtedly horrified by the slaughter, but as pope or, earlier, as the Vatican’s secretary of state, he had never complained about the sharp measures taken against the Jews as one Catholic nation after another introduced repressive laws (Italy in 1938, for instance, and France in 1940). In the eyes of both Montini and the pope, there was one man viewed as the Secretariat of State’s expert on all Jewish questions. The Holy Office also suggested that Monsignor Montini speak directly with the French foreign minister, who happened to be visiting Rome, about the case, and called on Montini to send instructions to Cardinal Gerlier through the nuncio in Paris. Reacting to press reports that the boys’ aunt, who had left her husband and her own children behind in Israel during the months that she had been in France, was planning to take them back with her, Pius XII authorized a news story to be planted by the Holy Office in a Roman Catholic newspaper. The culmination of those efforts came only after Pope John XXIII’s death; in 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued the remarkable declaration Nostra Aetate. Vatican officials raised funds by selling some volumes as well as bundling documents for sale by weight. The Western Schism resulted in two sets of papal archives being developed at once; this rose to three during the era of Pisan antipope John XXIII. 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