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Saint Leo U’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies Hosting Webinar on April 16 to Examine Role of Catholic Institutions, Individuals in Holocaust Rescues

Guest speaker Dr. Robert Ventresca will explore recently revealed history from the Vatican archives of Pope Pius XII.

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10 April 2024 - By University Communications

Saint Leo University’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies will present a webinar exploring recently revealed history from the Vatican archives of Pope Pius XII. New Questions, New Findings from the Recently Opened Archives of Pope Pius XII will feature Dr. Robert Ventresca and take place 7-8:30 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 16, via Zoom. Register at event is free and open to the public. 


Ventresca will discuss the Vatican’s newly opened Holocaust-era archives, examining the role of Catholic institutions, individuals, and the Vatican, in various forms of rescues during the Holocaust. “New findings show that history is complex, and we must consider the social, geographical, and institutional factors that influenced the moral choices of Catholic leaders and laypersons at this time,” the organizers noted. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The guest speaker is a history professor, author, media commentator, and the interim academic dean of King's University College at Western University, Ontario, Canada. Ventresca’s writings have been published widely on various topics related to the Holocaust, ethnicity and migration, and the Catholic Church in the modern world. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists and serves on the Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Ventresca also delivered a lecture at the October 2023 conference in Rome on the archives of Pius XII. This program is designed to make some of the research and insights from the historic Rome conference available to members of the local community.

Register at
For more information, contact Laurie Gens, CCJS administrator of programs and events, at or (352) 588-7711.

International Conference Examined Research on Papal Archives

In October, Saint Leo University’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies was one of the organizers of a historic international conference in Rome, which looked at the research which Ventresca will discuss on April 16. 


“New Documents from the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII and their Meaning for Jewish-Christian Relations: A Dialogue between Historians and Theologians,” took place October 9-11 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

In March 2020, Pope Francis opened millions of documents pertaining to the pontificate of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), before, during, and after World War II and the Holocaust. While it will take decades to analyze and ascertain the full significance of these archives estimated to be at least 16 million pages, some important discoveries were made and discussed during the conference.

“The New Documents from the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII and Their Meaning for Jewish-Christian Relations: A Dialogue Between Historians and Theologians, was truly a historic meeting,” said Dr. Matthew Tapie, director of Saint Leo’s CCJS. Tapie, along with Rabbi David Maayan, assistant director, presented at the international conference. 

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