The Politics of Vatican City

Politics, irrespective of who plays it, is all about influence and power. Politicians may well be labeled as power-mongers; this is not to paint a derogatory note on a politically-religious state like the Vatican City. The game called politics is important in running the affair of any nation, whether religiously framed or secular. This guarantees that even a religious city state like the Vatican would have a political head, in this case the political head corresponds with the religious head, the Pope.

The Vatican is unlike any other state. It is not democratic, autocratic and cannot be said to be monarchial but it is believed to be theocratic. Some would refer the Vatican as a theocratic monarchial system. Thus, the religious cum political figure of the state and the Roman Catholic Church is chosen by the consensus of the cardinal electors in the Conclave at the Sistine Chapel and can only occur after the resignation or death of the preceding Pope.

In a system that might be likened to the U.S. Electoral College but rather localized, the electors comprising the cardinals lock themselves up in the Sistine Chapel for the election process. Two-third majority vote is required to win the election and the faithful eagerly wait at the chimney top to have a glimpse of election process and see who the new pontiff would become.

The first sign of a successful election the faithful would see is a white smoke, a black smoke denotes “no election”. However, the crux of the process occurs when the Senior Cardinal-Deacon known as “Cardinale Protodiacono” announces the new pope in the famous Latin words “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus papam”. The last two words are very significant meaning “We have a new pope”.

The Pope is the governor of the Vatican, the emperor of the Roman Catholic Church and the conveyor of the Holy See mandate. He is vested with the sovereignty, jurisdiction and authority to direct the affairs of the Roman Catholic Church and with his central government, he directs the affairs of the Vatican. The politics of the Vatican is not only enshrined on the Vatican soil, it can be felt anywhere the Roman Catholic Church is named. This is well obvious in Italy, the United States, Europe and even at the ends of the world.