Vatican's 'secret archives' are no longer secret
By T.K. Randall
October 29, 2019 · 19 comments
The archives contain a wealth of information. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Leinad-Z
A vast repository of manuscripts dating back over a thousand years has been officially renamed by the Pope.
Originally founded in 1612 after Pope Paul V ordered all church records to be stored in one place, the Vatican Secret Archive contains all the acts promulgated by the Holy See.
A gold mine for scholars, philosophers and historians alike, this vast collection of papers, documents and parchments contains a wealth of knowledge about the church and its long history.
Some of its most valuable documents, including gold-plated manuscripts and the acts of the Inquisition trial against Galileo Galilei, are kept securely in special climate-controlled rooms.
The oldest of the documents stored in the archives dates back to the end of the 8th Century.
Now in a renewed bid to shake any negative connotations associated with the word 'secret' in its name, Pope Francis has this week formally renamed the repository the Vatican Apostolic Archive.
The Latin term 'secretum' doesn't actually mean 'secret' at all and never did - it's actually a reference to the archives being private i.e. the Pope's personal property.
"Thanks to a certain cultural emphases in some places, the word 'secretum' having lost its true meaning and instinctively being associated with the modern concept of the word 'secret,' assumed the prejudicial acceptance of being hidden, not revealed and reserved for a few," the Pope wrote.
"That is completely contrary to what the Vatican Secret Archive always was and intended to be."
Source: Japan Times
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