The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has published a rebuke of John Cornwell’s work, Hitler’s Pope. Printed below is the statement released by the Catholic news agency, Zenit, on the subject:

“Mr. Cornwell states that he has been the first and only person to have access to this archive. This statement is completely false. In fact, numerous persons have had access to this archive, even before Mr. Cornwell consulted it. It must be stressed that Mr. Cornwell’s research was limited to two series of documents: Bavaria (1918-1921) and Austria (Serbia, Belgrade: 1913-1915). Obviously, neither the author of the book nor others have ever had access to documents referring to the period which is not yet open to the public (1922 to the present).”

“Mr. Cornwell stated that he worked for ‘months on end,’ in said archive. This statement does not correspond absolutely to truth, either. In fact, in that archive precise annotations are made about the purpose of the day, and the period of time (hours and minutes) that each person employs to carry out his consultation. From these data, it is deduced that Mr. Cornwell was admitted to the archive from May 12 to June 2 of 1997, therefore, not for ‘months on end,’ but for a period of close to three weeks. Moreover, in this very limited time, Mr. Cornwell did not come every day; and on the days he did come, often his stay was for very brief periods of time.”

“Moreover, in open contrast to the truth, Mr. Cornwell stated that the documents he found had been kept strictly secret until he made his research. In this context, he refers specifically to a letter, sent on April 18, 1919, by the then Nuncio in Bavaria, Archbishop Pacelli, to the Secretariat of State. In connection with this document, he said this letter had remained secret in the Vatican Archive ‘like a time-bomb.’ But, in fact, said letter (of which Cornwell only quotes some limited phrases…), had already been published in 1992; in other words, seven years before the publication of Cornwell’s book. The full text of this document appeared in E. Fattorini’s book, ‘Germany and the Holy See: The Pacelli Nunciature between the Great War and the Weimar Republic,’ Il Mulino, Bologna, 1992, pp. 322-325.”

“It was important to point out the above facts to put readers on guard, who might otherwise be surprised by what is said in Mr. Cornwell’s publication about the materials kept in the Archive in question.”

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