Eminent Pius XII specialist Rev. Dr. Pierre Blet has passed away
December 23, 2009
On December 1st, Radio Vatican announced the passing away of the French Jesuit in the following terms:
“Father Pierre Blet, famous Church historian, professor in Rome and renowned Jesuit scholar and great defender of the memory of Pius XII (Pius XII and the Second World War, Perrin, and Pius XII and Second World War according to Archives of the Vatican), died of a heart attack at the age of 91 at Rome’s Hospital Santo Spirito. He divided his time between Rue Grenelle in Paris and Rome where he taught modern history in the Pontifical Gregorian University. With this loss the Company of Jesus loses one of its most heroic members”.
The Osservatore Romano gave tribute to this “Vatican historian” who along with three other Jesuits – Robert Graham, Angelo Martini and Burkhart Schneider was commissioned by Paul VI (1963-1978) to publish the most important documents concerning the second world war to throw light on Pius XII’s (1939-1958) alleged silence. “Piux XII and the Second World War: according to the archives of the Vatican” was published in 12 volumes and contains Holy See documents dating between 1939 and 1942. The first volume was published in 1965 (Acts and Documents of the Holy See related to the Second World War), just 7 years after Pius XII death, and the last volume was published in 1982. The French Jesuit compiled a summary of his research; Pius XII and the Second World War: according to the archives of the Vatican. It was published in 1997 and translated into about ten languages.
Father Blet recently published another book based on unexplored documents about church and state under Cardinal Richelieu: "Richelieu and the Church", editions Via Romana , 2007 (not yet translated into English).
Born in 1918, Father Blet entered the Jesuits in 1937. He was invited to Rome in 1950 to teach Modern History at the Pontifical Gregorian University. On June 21, 1958, he finished his Doctorate in the Sorbonne. From 1965 to 1995, he taught Diplomatic History at the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastics (dedicated to training priests).
He was a reserved and discreet person. A few days before his death he gave an interview to Avvenire, the Catholic Italian daily, where he announced that historians who would one day soon have access to Vatican Archives concerning the 1939-2005 period, would not find more than what was already published in the Acts. (DICI n°207-December 2009- Source: radiovatican/apic/imedia/jesuites).
Bibliography of books published in English
- Piux XII and the Second World War: according to the archives of the Vatican, 1999 Paulist press,inc