Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back in the saddle.

I have been on study leave since mid-October 2013.  The time away from school was a great opportunity to re-charge the batteries, do some serious professional and personal development in areas of Liturgy, Christian art and architecture, history and travel.  Of the latter I did some pretty serious getting around.  Over the last three months I have spent time in different cities in Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Cuba and the United States.  Most of that time was engaged in various forms of "church crawling".  

I kept an eye on news concerning Pius XII but it has been pretty quiet.  The only significant piece of news has been the resurgence of hope that Pope Francis may speed up the opening of the archives for Pius' pontificate.  Much of the story appears to have been promoted by the visit to Rome by Francis' old friend, Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires.  And while Skorka was diplomatically reserved over the nature of his conversations with his old friend, he did suggest that Francis was keen to open the archives in order to "get it all out" about what Pius did and did not do.  Several articles appeared on 19 January and there has been a steady trickle over the last week.  Most appear to borrow from each other.

However, I tend to be rather sceptical having seen more than a few media reports that "it" was about to happen, would happen soon, that the new pope was committed to "it" and so on.  What I do think is solid fact is Francis' commitment to "hasten slowly" on the cause of Pope Pius XII.  His public statements demonstrate a much-welcomed caution that until all the relevant material is examined, Pacelli's cause for canonisation should wait.  This is good news.  For those who wish to read some of the news headlines I suggest these:

19 January: Gidon Ben-zvi writing in The Algemeiner,  Pope may open Holocaust era Vatican archives, possiblt shedding light on Pope Pius XII's role.

19 January: The Jerusalem Post picked up Pope Francis to examine Pius' wartime conduct before deciding on sainthood from the Sunday Times.

20 January: Catholic Culture, a conservative North American news service, reported Pope ready to open secret archives of Pius XII?

20 January: Andrea Tornielli writing in Vatican Insider penned Skorka and the Vatican archives on Pius XII.

25 January:  A very enthusiastic Vaiju Naravane writing for The Hindu informs us the "Pope Francis appears to have taken another bold decision in favour of inter-religious harmony and transparency in the affairs off the Roman Catholic Church.  It has been reported that he has decided to throw open the Vatican's archives on the Holocaust and the role played by Pope Pius XII during Hitler's third Reich when an estimated six million Jews were exterminated".

An interesting start.  However, just in case his readers think this is really what is going on, Naravane goes on to write: "However, the Vatican has still to confirm that Pope Francis has in fact decided to open the archives".  Indeed.  

Personally, I find reading Sandro Magister's column along with more "left of centre" journals, such as the National Catholic Reporter, gives me what may be the best picture of what is happening.

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