Hey fellow adventurers! Today I want to talk about the government of Vatican City since, like its economy, it’s so unique. I hope I’m not losing you guys since I normally talk about more fun things, but I genuinely find the Holy See and Vatican City interesting.  Anyhow, onto the topic!

Vatican City has an absolute theocratic elective monarchy. It appears that it is one of seventeen countries that have an elective monarchy. For those of you who don’t know, that means the head of the Catholic Church (the Pope) exercises the judicial, legislative, and executive power over Vatican City. In comparison, the United States distributes those roles amongst three branches:

  • The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets the law and ensures that it’s being upheld, and resolves disputes. Those in the Judicial Branch are chosen by the president and confirmed by the senate.
  • The Legislative Branch has the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, and the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments. This branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress.
  • The Executive Branch is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress, and appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet. The President exercise power of the Executive Branch. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.

But in a monarchy, one person (in this case: The Pope) oversees all of these responsibilities. Unlike most monarchies however, the Pope is elected. The cardinals who are under the age of eighty vote for the next Pope in the case that the previous Pope dies or resigns. And as I mentioned before, a theocracy is a type of government where the source of their authority comes from a deity. For the Pope, it’s God.

It is the Pope’s responsibility to represent Vatican City and manage relations with foreign nations. The Pope, assisted by a Secretary General and a Deputy Secretary General, also exercises executive power over the Governorate. The Governorate is a group of departments, divided into administrations and central offices. These offices include:

  • State Accounting Administration
  • General Services Administration
  • Security and Civil Defense Services Department
  • Department of Health and Hygiene
  • Museums Administration
  • Department of Technical Services
  • Department of Telecommunications
  • Department of Economic Services
  • Department of Pontifical Villas
  • Judicial Office
  • Personnel Office
  • Registry and Notary Office
  • Philatelic and Numismatic Office
  • Computer Systems Office
  • State Archive
  • Pilgrim and Tourist Office
  • Worker’s Security and Health Service

If you’re interested, and want to learn more, I highly recommend you visit the official site of Vatican City: There’s a lot of good information there!

Well that’s all for this post! Thank you so much for reading! And as always, until our next adventure!

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