Open Letter to Senator Sanders: Help to Open Up the Secret Vatican Archives !
So Bernie Sanders, in the very midst of the crucial primary fight in New York, is taking time off to travel to the Vatican. He hopes, he says, to see the Pope of Rome. Whether the Vatican invited him on its own initiative or whether the Senator wrangled the invitation himself is a matter of conflicting reports.
Some weeks ago Sanders could not find the time to address AIPAC, as all the other candidates did. Nor could he find the time, last year, to attend a joint session of Congress to listen to Netanyahu of Israel. Well, every man must have his own priorities.
All this aside, here is a great opportunity now for this self-described “democratic socialist” to strike a blow for those democratic values that he professes, viz., in this case, transparency of the historical record.
Scholars are divided over whether the Nazi-era Catholic Church was complicit in the Holocaust. Many professional scholars suspect a (greater or lesser) Catholic collaboration with the Nazis, while the clerical apologists (of course) deny any such complicity. So far so good. The question now, as is explained by the excellent article by Gerald Posner, is whether the Vatican will allow outside scholars to have access to the secret Vatican archives that deal with this period. True, the Vatican has itself published a certain number of documents, but these were all selected and vetted by the Catholic hierarchy — hardly a confidence-inspiring procedure.
Given the authoritarian governance of the Vatican, Pope Francis can open all these archives by a single stroke of his papal pen. Sanders has said repeatedly that the is a huge, a very huge fan of this Pope. So here is my challenge to the Senator. Make a simple request of your hero: Holy father, for God’s sake, open up those archives !