A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books
The recent decision of the Vatican to reveal the secret documents that that lain hidden in its extensive secret achives is a welcome step. For centuries the Vatican has hoarded its documents and this tendency has of course fueled speculation that often results in conspiracy theories doing the rounds. If the Vatican had embraced the principle of openess and transparency, the sordid sage of the Da Vinci Code could have been avaided. Speculation enters where there is an opaque blanket of fog and the only way to dispel it is by exposure to the searching light of historical scrutiny and thia is exactly what the Pope has done.
The Secret Archives of the Vatican extend over 85 miles of shelves and the alcoves are stuffed with records going back to the fall of the Raman Empire. It is sometimes said that the very altar of the cathedral on Capitol Hill is located on the tomb of Saint Peter. The velum documents and richly illustrated Bibles are really a treasure that belongs to the whole world and Vatican is doing us a favor by putting them on public display
The secret documents contain records of the Trial of the Knights Templars when the entire order was proscribed and the Knights hunted and burnt at the stake. The record of the Inquisition form another interesting category of documents. The excommunication of the great reformer, Martin Luther, which unleashed the Protestant movement or the Lutheran movement is another interesting historical record. The signed retreaction of Galileo who was forced to withdraw his famous book in which he put forth his heliocentric theory of the universe in opposition to the theory favored by the Catholic Church is another interesting document. During the Second World War when the Germans were busy exterminating the Jews,the Holocaust, the Roman Catholic Church remained a silent spectator. There are also historians like David Goldhagen who argue that the Church was an active accomplce in the Holocaust. The secret archives may shed light on this rather sordid chapter in the history of the church.
Openess and transparecy have never been the guiding principles of any totalitarian religious movement and the Catholic Church is not an exception. However the decision to display the secret archives and to upload part of the Archives on to the WEb site are certainly welcome.