Despite its tiny size, the Vatican is, on the surface at least, set up like many other countries. It has a police force. It issues passports, operates jails, has citizens and passes laws. Beneath the surface, however, Vatican City is an utterly bizarre place with an utterly strange set of rules meshing democracy and absolute monarchy.

The above video was created by CGP Grey, the same folks who recently gave us a great clip explaining how to become Pope. This effort is slightly broader in scope, but it’s no less fascinating or watchable and ranks right up there with the services best videos.

The system the Vatican employs might sound stupidly complicated, but much of the rigors are actually needed since the Catholic Church feels the Pope is God’s representative on Earth. Because of that belief system, he really does logically need to have the authority to overrule the Cardinals. That being said, it’s not surprising that this has led to more than a few abuses of power in the centuries long history of the Catholic Church.

To learn more, consider becoming a priest, moving up the ranks, earning one of roughly five hundred Vatican City citizen passports and then asking the powers that be a few questions.

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