Vatican to Display Historic Secret Documents

Posted July 5th, 2011 at 9:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The Vatican has announced that 100 specially selected documents from its secret archives will go on unprecedented public display in Rome next February.

The priceless artifacts include papers from the trial of Italian inventor Galileo, charged with heresy for contradicting 17th-century church teachings that the sun revolves around the Earth.

Other documents include a letter from the British parliament asking Pope Clement to annul the marriage of King Henry the VIII and Catherine of Aragon — an event that led to England splitting from the Roman Catholic Church.

A number of never-before-seen documents from Pope Pius the XII will also be on display.

Many Jews accuse Pius of not doing enough to stop the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. The Vatican has resisted making some of those papers public, insisting that Pius' quiet diplomacy helped save lives.

But it is unclear if any of the documents to be displayed are related to his wartime activities.