Dialogika

Canonization of Pope Pius XII?

Statement of Two Catholic Members of the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission

 

To Whom It May Concern:

We must dissociate ourselves from the press release from the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) under the name of its chairman, Seymour Reich. The press release pertains to a letter from Cardinal Walter Kasper to the group of three Jewish and two Catholic historians--one Catholic member resigned in December--appointed respectively by IJCIC and the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, in which the cardinal asked us to complete our examination of the 11 volumes of the Actes et documents du Saint Siège. The group of historians, as a whole, responded that it could not proceed to a final report without greater access to documents requested in a series of 47 questions presented as illustrative of lacunae in the published documents to Cardinal Edward Cassidy, Cardinal Kasper's predecessor, who made the original agreement with IJCIC and appointed the Catholic members. We signed that response to Cardinal Kasper because it was stating the historical fact that the group could not continue. We did not sign it in the sense of any protest against the Vatican or in what Mr. Reich characterizes as "deep disappointment" at the Vatican for not giving us the response we may have desired for the simple reason that the archival material in question lies under the jurisdiction of the Secretariat of State and not under the Pontifical Commission that initiated our joint effort. We cannot express "deep disappointment" at the outcome, when Cardinal Cassidy or his successor, Cardinal Kasper, never made or could make any promise that any questions we raised would be answered from documents in the archives of the Secretariat of State, over which neither had authority. As historians, we are on record as stating we would like the archives to be open, but neither Cardinal Cassidy nor Cardinal Kasper are in a position to promise or guarantee that opening.

In the response of the five historians to Cardinal Kasper's letter, we avoided any tone of protest. In it, each individual had to compromise his personal objectives. As we noted above, we signed it because it was reporting the fact that the group, as a group, felt it could not continue. We acknowledge that as a fact, regrettable as it may be. But we were highly insulted to learn that IJCIC had issued a press release from journalists who had already received it. Only during one such conversation did one of us receive a fax of the release from Mr. Reich. Had we known the use to which Mr. Reich would put our letter, we would never have appended our signatures.

Gerald P. Fogarty, S.J.

William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Religious Studies and History

University of Virginia

 

John F. Morley

Associate Professor of History

Seton Hall University