In 1985, ex-Jesuit Alberto Rivera predicted that the Vatican would eventually apologize for its part in the German Holocaust, the inquisition, and the slaughter of Jews and Muslims during the Crusades. His prediction was based on secret briefings that he attended while a Jesuit in training (See "Godfathers" by Jack T Chick.)
Last month, this prediction came true as Pope John Paul II publicly asked forgiveness for the sins of Roman Catholics through the ages. The pope and several other Vatican leaders conducted a "Day of Pardon Mass" at St. Peter's Basilica.
To the Jews he said, "We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood."
In reference to the Inquisition, Cardinal Ratzinger confessed, "Even men of the church, in the name of faith and morals, have sometimes used methods not in keeping with the Gospel." The pope responded, "Have mercy on your sinful children."
Some Jewish leaders were unimpressed. Israel's chief rabbi, Meir Lau, said he was "deeply frustrated" by the pope's failure to mention the Holocaust by name.
Leaders from several Jewish organizations have been pressing the Vatican to open its World War II archives to investigators. They claim that, at best, Vatican leaders and Pope Pius XII, remained silent during Hitler's genocide against the Jews and others.
Of course, few are willing to present the whole truth, that Roman Catholic leaders, including the pope, were instrumental in Hitler's rise to power and that Hitler was simply carrying out persecution against the Jews which the Vatican had fostered for centuries.**
Another reason for opening the archives is to determine what happened to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold stolen by the Nazis from Jews and other conquered nations. Much of it has been traced to Swiss banks who have made a token refund to Holocaust survivors.
But Dr. Rivera was told by the head of the Jesuit order, Cardinal Augustin Bea, that a special train flying Vatican flags was allowed through the Allied military lines. The Americans were told it was a "mercy train" carrying medical supplies. In reality it carried Nazi gold which was deposited in Vatican accounts in Swiss banks.
In July, 1997, a documentary film crew discovered a US government document stating that the pro-Nazi Croatian Ustachis sent gold coins worth 250 million Swiss francs to the Vatican which was later used to finance the "rat line" of fleeing Nazi leaders to sanctuary in Spain and Argentina.
The Vatican denies this but still refuses to open its archives. In January of this year, Ukranian and Jewish concentration camp survivors filed a class action lawsuit in San Francisco, California against the Vatican Bank. The complaint calls for the Vatican Bank, the Fransciscan Order and other European banks to give an accounting of the Nazi Ustashi Gold and for restitution for the victims and their families.
The Roman Catholic Institution has steadfastly denied that Dr. Rivera ever was a priest, much less privy to secret Vatican briefings. However, it seems unlikely that it was just a lucky guess when he made these statements 15 years ago.
For more information, see The Four Horsemen and Secret History of the Jesuits.