The exhibition, "Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Revealed," will range across the centuries, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday. It will be open from February to September at the Capitoline Museums in Rome.
The papers in the archives date back 1,000 years. The exhibit is expected to include documents from the trial of Galileo, the appeal sent to Clement VII in 1530 by the English Parliament seeking an end to Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon and papers on the actions of Pope Pius XII during World War II.
The Vatican has been more open about the Secret Archives in recent years in an effort to counter books like Dan Brown's "Angels & Demons" and "The Da Vinci Code." An authorized book about the archives was published last year.
Monsignor Sergio Pagano, the keeper of the archives, told the Italian news agency ANSA Tuesday he expects work on Pius XII's papers to be completed in three to four years. Any decision on publication will be up to Benedict XVI or his successor.
Pagano said the historical material "will be succulent, it will be tasty because it will focus on many problems which are discussed acritically today because those sources are lacking."
Pius XII is controversial because of his failure to speak openly about the Nazi policy of extermination of Jews and others. Supporters say he saved many Jews and believed he could be more effective by working quietly.