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Pius XII saintmaker attacks sources of 'irresponsible' leaks to media

Some Jewish members of a panel probing Pius XII's wartime activities have "repeatedly leaked distorted and tendentious news" to the media and are guilty of "irresponsible behaviour," the postulator of the cause of beatification of Pius XII said on Thursday.

Fr Peter Gumpel SJ made his statement in a declaration authorised by the Vatican.

"From the beginning of the work, some -- not all -- of the members of the Jewish component of the group publicly spread the suspicion that the Holy See was trying to conceal documents that, in its judgment, would have been compromising," Fr Gumpel said. "These persons then repeatedly leaked distorted and tendentious news, communicating it to the international press."

His comments came in the wake of a decision by the commission of Jewish and Catholic historians to halt its investigation into Pius XII's conduct during the Holocaust.

The panel contended that the Vatican has not offered it access to the archives necessary for its research. But Fr Gumpel claimed that three million pages of documents have not yet been cataloged and are therefore not usable by scholars.

The Commission communicated its decision in a letter addressed to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Interreligious Relations with Judaism, who is directing the initiative. Elan Steinberg, director of the World Jewish Congress, reported the decision to the New York media.

The commission was established in 1999 to probe accusations that Pius XII avoided public condemnation of Nazi atrocities. The group comprised three Jewish historians and three Catholics, who were reduced to two, after Eva Flieschner resigned.

Pontifical Commission for Interreligious Relations with Judaism
World Jewish Congress