Church officials in Rome and in the United States have expressed concern that the case for Pius XII's canonization suffered a setback with the popularity of books like "Hitler's Pope," by John Cornwell, and "Constantine's Sword," by James Carroll, that argue that Pius XII was complicit in the genocide of the Jews. Some historians cautioned that Catholic officials were now eager to employ any evidence to rehabilitate Pius XII's image.
Mr. Gallagher said in an interview that he merely hoped the documents would illustrate that as a diplomat, Cardinal Pacelli made his case against the Nazis in private, to other diplomats.
"I wouldn't go so far as to say that these documents exonerate him," Mr. Gallagher said. "What I think these findings might help to dispel is the impression that this pope was, as others have called him, `Hitler's Pope.' "