The Vatican Secret Archives have fuelled people’s imagination for centuries. This is largely due to its incomparable long and interesting history. Today, the entire documentation kept in the Vatican Secret Archives occupies 85 kilometres of bookshelves and is constantly growing.
It covers a continued chronological space of over 800 years. Moreover, its unique location, the majestic documentary treasures and the limited access contribute to this aura of mystery. The shroud of secrecy that has always surrounded this important cultural institution of the Holy See, due to the allusions to inaccessible secrets, as well as to the publicity it has always enjoyed in literature and in the media, makes this publication even more attractive.
No-one can enter without the express permission of the Vatican – and when they do get in, they can’t even browse the shelves. Not even the Pope has access to his own archive. So what exactly is the Vatican hiding down there?
Absolutely no one is allowed into the Archives, not even Cardinals. It is not well explained, on the Archives’ website, whether the Pope is allowed to go in or not. Anyone who wants to see a document from the Archives must ask in advance, and thus, must know in advance if such a document even exists.
Pope Francis is considering when to open the full archives of Pope Pius XII, the man dubbed “Hitler’s Pope” by some, but whose cause for canonization is championed by Church traditionalists who say he hid Jews from the Nazis.