What does the Vatican sell

The political structure of the Vatican

"Vatican City State" and "Holy See"

The state of the Vatican City is a politically independent state with state territory, citizens and state authority.

The Holy See is also anchored in international law as a sovereign but non-state subject of international law. He represents the head of the Catholic Church, the office of the Pope and the Curia. From a legal point of view, the Pope is part of the Holy See. But he is also the head of the Vatican City State.

The State of Vatican City does not appear on the political stage. The Vatican's numerous diplomatic envoys are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican State. The diplomats represent the Pope and the spiritual leadership of the Catholic Church abroad, not the territorial state of the Vatican.

Who rules the Vatican State?

The head of government of the Vatican is not the Pope himself, but the "Chief of Administration of the State of Vatican City" appointed by the Pope. Politically, he has almost no points of contact with the Holy See and the leadership of the Catholic Church. He is in charge of the financial and budgetary policy of Vatican City.

The Vatican's finances

The Vatican earns money from the sale of Vatican coins and stamps to collectors, it collects the entrance fees for the Vatican museums and owns real estate and art treasures, which it cannot sell for silver. The head of government of the Vatican provides the Vatican with sums in the tens of millions every year.

It is money that the Pope desperately needs. Because although the Vatican has multiple holdings in real estate, churches, apartments, art treasures and companies, the Vatican budget has shown high deficits in recent years. In many years of the 21st century, debts were in the tens of millions. It was rarely in the black, as in 2012.

There are individual, very rich dioceses such as Cologne or New York whose budget is larger than that of the entire Vatican. The Vatican depends on their support.

The Vatican's largest expenditure items are salaries for employees, funding for diplomatic missions and the maintenance of art treasures. The Vatican does not tax its residents or Catholics. But the Vatican calls for voluntary donations, it raises St. Peter's penny.

The Roman Curia

Behind the legal title "Holy See" stands not only the Pope, but also the Roman Curia. The Curia is the central administration of the Catholic world church. It has nothing to do with the administrative institutions of the Vatican State.

The Curia is the central authority that assists the Pope in governing the Church. The organizational form of the curia was created in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. In 1967 the central authority of the Vatican and the Catholic Church was established by Pope Paul VI. comprehensively reformed, and again in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

The Curia is divided into five sections: the papal secretariat of state, nine congregations, three courts of justice, eleven papal councils and three offices for economic affairs. First and foremost is the State Secretariat, which implements the Pope's instructions - a kind of Chancellery with far-reaching powers.

The cardinal secretary of state is a kind of chancellor and the second man behind the pope. He is the head of the Vatican diplomacy.

The curia has its own authorities for individual areas, so-called congregations. They are the ministries of the Holy See. The congregations appoint bishops and oversee the teaching of the Catholic Church. Among other things, there is a congregation for the doctrine of the faith, - for divine service and the order of the sacraments, - for Catholic education and a congregation for the processes of beatification and canonization.

In addition to the congregations, there are secretariats, commissions and committees in which state affairs are regulated and political decisions are implemented. In addition to these organs, there is a separate jurisdiction and the administration of the sovereign state.

The Swiss Guard

For many centuries the Pope was not only the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, he also had far-reaching secular power. The Pope put pressure on emperors and kings, commanded armies of his own, and waged wars.

The Pope no longer has an army today. But a small troop of well-trained men still ensures the safety of the highest Catholic church lord: the Swiss Guard. It secures the state borders, the entrances to the Vatican City, protects the Apostolic Palace and guarantees the personal safety of the Pope.

In 1505 the Swiss Guard was brought into being by Pope Julius II and appointed as body and palace guard for the Pope in the Papal States. The sack of Rome on May 6, 1527 by the troops of Emperor Charles V is unforgettable in the history of the Swiss Guard Castel Sant'Angelo secured.

Today the powerful papal force consists of exactly 110 men. Whoever wants to join the elite guard of the Swiss Guards must meet strict requirements: the candidates must be Catholic Swiss, between the ages of 19 and 30. You must be physically fit and you must not marry up to the rank of non-commissioned officer.

The service period is at least two years. During this time, the guardsmen had Vatican citizenship, which, however, was revoked after their service.