The secret files of Pope Pius XI, who reigned at the start of World War II, will be released from the Vatican archives in mid-September, Rome has announced.
The files, which cover Pius XI’s tenure as pope —from February 6, 1922, to February 10, 1939—are sure to attract the attention of scholars studying the legacy of his successor, Pius XII.
Pius XII, who has been criticized for his perceived failure to defend European Jewry from the Nazis, served as Pius XI’s chief negotiator with Nazi Germany prior to his election as pope.
In 1933, Pius XII, then known as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, brokered a special treaty between Nazi Germany and the Holy See known as the Reichskonkordat, which included guarantees of liberty for the church, independence for Catholic organizations and religious teaching in schools.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).