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  • Uruguayans march for justice for victims of the dictatorship.

    Uruguayans march for justice for victims of the dictatorship. | Photo: EFE

Published 24 April 2017

Pope Francis is the second head of Catholicism to begin a declassification process of Vatican documents.

The Vatican began Monday the first phase of declassifying its archives on the Uruguay's military dictatorship, a process promoted by Pope Francis.

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According to Mario Cayota, appointed by the government of Tabare Vazquez to collaborate in the process, the Vatican Secretariat of State began cataloging and ordering its archives that may contain information on the years of the dictatorship in Uruguay, between 1973 and 1985.

"I had a one-hour meeting with the Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who confirmed to me the start of the first phase of a process of ordering and cataloging of archives, as a first step in a road that will continue with the documents that the secret archive of the Holy See might have," Cayota told Telam in Rome.

The declassification of the archives was one of the central themes of the meeting that Pope Francis and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez had in the Vatican last December.

"It is a path that must be followed with order and caution, and in which the Uruguayan state will collaborate with the Holy See," said Cayota, also the former ambassador of his country to the Vatican between 2006 and 2011.

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The material could basically contain letters from the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission to Uruguay and the number of files will depend on the digitalization process taken, according to Telam.

The Vatican is also carrying forward a declassification process with its archives on the dictatorship in Argentina, from 1976 until 1983, with files from the Argentine Episcopal Conference, in which the Vatican said it worked by "having as premise the service to truth, justice and peace, continuing the dialogue open to the culture of gathering of the Argentine people."

Pope Francis, who is Argentine, is the second head of the Catholic Church to begin the process of opening files. John Paul II began the same procedure in 2002 to shed a light on the role of the church during the Nazi era.

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