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Rome Reports

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Four universities team up for research project on Pius XII's geopolitics

World War II was a decisive time for society. Different ideas about the Western world were being developed.

One envisioned the West as the heart of Europe. Another had a more economic vision marked by capitalism. And another one focused on military alliances.

Taking advantage of the opening of the Vatican archives on Pius XII, experts from four universities will investigate what vision for the Western World the Vatican and the Catholic Church proposed.

Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University

We want to see which categories of the West were being considered, if they were well defined and if key players understood them well. We want to see which projects were carried out, because there are many actors in the Catholic sphere, not just the Pope and the bishops. There are also political parties, made up of many Catholics and other Christians; universities and religious orders. We're talking about a period of great dynamism.

Prof. Roberto Regoli has managed to put together a research team of historians, philosophers and theologians from four of Europe's most prestigious universities: the University of Sacro Cuore in Milan, the Pontifical Gregorian University, Navarra and the Portuguese Catholic University.

This diversity guarantees a variety of perspectives, access to specialized sources and an in-depth analysis of many different fields.

Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University

“The research will look into very different fields, from diplomacy and Church-state relations to the economic sphere. But it will also include a very broad cultural aspect.”

Pius XII supported a process of unifying Europe that didn't pan out. He also supported democratic regimes, but he had to ally himself with Franco's Spain and Salazar's Portugal. He also opposed communist regimes.

Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University

“...Christian democracies were also encouraged by the Vatican. But there are also other State models, from Franco's Spain to Salazar's Portugal and then all the different tensions in Latin America.”

The research project will last four years and already counts on experts from different continents. The Vatican continues to receive requests from experts from different universities who want to participate.

It's an ambitious project to better understand the past in order to live the present and build the future.

Javier Martínez-Brocal