for Telegraph.co.uk on April 19, 2013
Decades of doubt over the role played by "Hitler's Pope" under the Fascist regimes in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and 1940s may be answered if Pope Francis, as a close friend has suggested, opens the Vatican archives.
Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who has known the Argentine former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio for 20 years, said he had discussed the role of Pius XII – the man long dubbed as "Hitler's Pope" – at length with the new pontiff.
The Rabbi, who recently co-authored On Heaven and Earth, a book of interviews with his friend, said he had made clear that he thought Pius's legacy ought to be "investigated thoroughly".
"It's a terribly sensitive issue, but he says that it must be investigated thoroughly," he said. "I have no doubt that he will move to open the archives."
In an interview with The Tablet, Rabbi Skorka said he was convinced his friend – who he predicted would be a "revolutionary" Pope – favoured opening the archives to clarify once and for all Pius's role.
It follows decades of speculation about the extent to which Pius cooperated with the Fascist regime in Italy and Nazi Germany during his reign which began in 1939.
Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/10004609/Francis-will-open-files-on-Hitlers-Pope-says-friend.html