Sunday, October 31, 2010

I "Fogli di udienza" - The Records of the Audiences of Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli

Volume I of what will be a very interesting series arrived a few weeks ago.  The Archivio Segreto Vaticano have been working on "the Pacelli files" for some time and have begun publishing a detailed study of Cardinal Pacelli as Secretary of State to Pius XI, 1930-1939.  The first volume,is  I "Fogli di Udienza" del Cardinale Eugenio Pacelli Segretario di Stato I 1930. (The Pages or Records of the Audiences of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli Secretary of State, I 1930)

While much of Pacelli's work with Pius XI is known through the material that has come to light since the opening of the files for the papacy of Pius XI (since 2003), there had been little information on the meetings held regularly between the Pope and his Secretary of State.  As Hubert Wolf reveals clearly in his book "Pope and Devil" these meetings were significant moments in the creation and execution of Vatican policy in its engagement with governments and powers.

The contents of this volume include essays by members of the ASV team that collated the documents, followed by the archival material.  There is an impressive and very helpful collection of biographical material on people mentioned throughout the documents as well as a comprehensive bibliography and index.

ASV plans to publish a series of volumes covering the years of Pacelli's secretariat and if this first volume is an indication of the scholarship we will see, expect to be very impressed.  The footnotes are considerable and include a vast array of references to works both contemporary to the 1930s and the present.   

Statistically, the planned series will document some 2627 folios ranging in size from several paragraphs to several pages. 

Historians will find the series a great help in our continued study of this period.

It is readily available through the ASV Economato for €65.00.  But, be warned - you will need a letter opener or sharp knife to slice pages!  I spent several hours cutting pages - after several hundred pages it does get a bit tiring.

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