Keeper Desires You to Be Aware of Vatican Secrets

For years, the Roman Catholic Church has been attempting to explain to the general public that its “secret” document collection is not really secret. Researchers now have access to Vatican records belonging to Pope Pius XII during World War II. The word “Secret” was even removed from the archive’s official name. Archbishop Sergio Pagano, the head of the Vatican Apostolic Archive, recently spoke with the Associated Press. After working in the archive for forty-five years, Pagano revealed some of the mysteries he had discovered. One of the most significant document repositories in the world is the archive of the Vatican.


Pagano provided some generally unknown insights about the history of the Vatican and its interactions with the outside world during the previous 1200 years in a new book-length interview titled “Secretum.” Over the course of a year, Massimo Franco, an Italian reporter, conducted interviews and debates. From the French leader Napoleon stealing documents to the financial backing provided by American Catholics in 1922 for the election of a pope, Pagano explains it all. It’s the first time, and it will be the last since I’m going to be leaving,” the 75-year-old Pagano stated. Prior to his anticipated retirement later this year, he also chatted with the AP.


The repository was first made available to academics in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII. Up until that point, its exclusive functions had been to serve the pope and store records of the Catholic Church’s head from the eighth century. Eighty-five kilometers of book space make up the archive, most of which is underground in a safe, two-story building that is fireproof. It also contains collections from wealthy families and religious organizations, as well as records from Vatican embassies worldwide. The archive functions similarly to any other private or national archive. In reading rooms, researchers ask for permission to visit and then request documents to study.


In the book, Pagano critiques the lack of thorough investigation of Pius XII’s canonization. Scholars are now reviewing recently made available records. “Secretum” tells fresh tales in addition to the existing ones. They include a significant financial tie that dates back to 1922 and is still in place today between Catholics in the United States and the Vatican. According to Pagano, a financial official discovered that the Vatican was bankrupt following the death of Pope Benedict XV. According to the book’s leaked communications, the Vatican instructed its ambassador in Washington, D.C., to transfer “what you have in the safe” so that the election of a new pope could proceed.

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