Wanna know the Pope’s secrets? Thought so. Well, starting tomorrow, for the low low price of 12 euro, you can view centuries of previously inaccessible documents from some of the most prominent events in Catholic history when “Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals Itself” opens at the Capitoline Museums. The Vatican Secret Archives were established by Pope Paul V back in the 17th Century as a way to separate the pope’s personal papers from the rest of the Vatican library, and have remained off limits to the public ever since. And while the word “secret” is included in the official title not the way we think of it today (confidential and/or redacted CIA documents exposing every historical event ever as some kind of conspiracy), but instead to indicate they are the personal property of the pope, I think we can all fairly assume that the pope’s personal papers are a little more interesting than wrinkled receipts, a W-2 from 2006, and rejected drafts of grad school essays (not that those are my personal papers or anything…). And in fact, you would be right. The pope tends to hang onto things more along the lines of orders convicting Galileo of heresy, a papal bull excommunicating Martin Luther, and some light correspondence with Abraham Lincoln.
These documents, along with about 100 others, will be on display at the Capitoline Museums starting this evening at 5:30pm. As of tomorrow, March 1st, the exhibit is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am-9pm. Tickets are 12 euro, and includes admission to the special exhibit and the rest of the Capitoline Museums. The show runs until September.