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Jean-Louis Bruguès: The man with Benedict XVI's dream job

2012-12-08

He has been appointed to the job then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger vied for three times under John Paul II.

MONS. JEAN-LOUIS BRUGUÈS
Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
"When the Pope invited me, this past April 30, he let me in on a secret. Before being elected Pope, he wanted to be the Church's librarian. Now, of course he cannot do that. So then, he told me, 'I would like to realized that dream, through you'.”

The Vatican Apostolic Library and the Vatican Secret Archives have more than 33 miles of books and 57 miles of bookshelves.

MONS. JEAN-LOUIS BRUGUÈS
Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
"We are at the heart, at the center of history. The history of the Church, but also of a large part of humanity.”

According to Jean-Louis Bruguès some of the goals within the Vatican Apostolic Library include conservation, investigation and a third little known goal, but very fundamental. He called it a "hidden diplomacy.”

MONS. JEAN-LOUIS BRUGUÈS
Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
"A month ago, a delegation of a Chinese university was here. Naturally, communist China does not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. They came and offered to help us economically in digitizing 1,200 Chinese manuscripts we have here. My only condition was, once finished, to organize an exhibit in Beijing between the Holy See and communist China. They agreed.”

Jean-Louis Bruguès admits that even though this is his first post as a librarian, he is very happy with the work.

MONS. JEAN-LOUIS BRUGUÈS
Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
"Still today, when I leave my apartment in the mornings for my half hour walk here, I feel like an eight-year-old child on the way to school. I have a new found desire to learn. In other words, it is a completely new job, but I live it, despite my age.”



Part of his work includes publishing documents from the Vatican Secret Archives, such as those dealing with the pontificate of Pius XII. According to Brugès, they will be ready for publication in two years.

MONS. JEAN-LOUIS BRUGUÈS
Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
"There is no set date. It should take about two years, more or less.”

He is the librarian with a universal outlook, beyond the scope of the Vatican Secret Archives, and with the difficult task of doing what Benedict XVI was unable to, since being elected Pope.


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