VATICAN CITY - Speaking before a delegation of Jewish leaders at the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis revealed he has instructed the Vatican Secret Archives to unseal a set of ancient scrolls that have been kept hidden from public knowledge for centuries by the Church. The scrolls, which were encased in marble and buried in 463 A.D., are said to contain the true name of God as communicated to Moses in the Book of Exodus.
The Pope told an audience during an event celebrating a new version of the Torah that his decision to upend over fifteen hundred years of secrecy was driven in part by a need for “greater transparency” within the Catholic Church. “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another,” declared Pope Francis before adding that the Church is “leading a double life” by continuing to keep God’s name secret.
A source inside the Vatican Secret Archives told Sky News that the Church first became aware of the scrolls’ existence in the fifth century. “The scrolls were uncovered by the Romans during siege of Jerusalem and the subsequent destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Nearly four centuries came to pass before Rome would hand over control of the scrolls to the Church in 463 A.D.,” the source explained. “Upon inspection, Pope St. Hilarius issued a decree striking any mention of God’s name from official Church literature.”
According to Exodus 3:14, when the Lord appeared to Moses as a burning bush, He referred to Himself in the Hebrew tongue as “Yaweh,” meaning, “I am who I am.” However, the Holy See now says that was only part of God’s message to Moses. “God said, ‘I am who I am,” the Vatican source told Sky News. “He then followed up with, ‘And I am [this name].’ That final word is what the Holy See plans to make known to the world.”
As to why the Catholic Church has gone to such great lengths to keep God’s true name a secret remains unknown. What is clear is that the Papacy has maintained an unbroken chain of communication in regards to the matter dating back to 468 A.D. “In keeping with tradition, each successive Pope since Hilarius has been made aware of the Lord’s name,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed on Friday.
The Vatican Press Office has received more than two million inquiries regarding God’s name since the Pope’s announcement on Thursday. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” said one Vatican insider who spoke to BBC News on condition of anonymity. “Understandably, everyone wants to know [His] name,” the insider said. That sentiment isn’t limited to the public. Even the College of Cardinals is getting caught up in the frenzy. According to the insider, the body which serves to advise the Pope has a “friendly betting pool” whose odds-on favorite is “Kevin.”