THE greatest depository of religious and secular manuscripts and manuscript art is the Vatican Library in Rome; its archives of some 566,000 books and documents, dating from as far back as 2,000 B.C., form an irreplaceable record. But if the library were destroyed, the substance and art of its contents would not be lost. Eight years ago the Jesuit fathers of Missouri's Roman Catholic St. Louis University got permission to microfilm some 30,000 key Vatican Library manuscripts. Backed financially by the Knights of Columbus, they have now recorded a staggering 11 million pages from such works as St. Thomas Aquinas' original...

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