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Vatican City State Legal Research Guide

The purpose of this guide is to assist researchers in their search for information on the structure and organization of the temporal law of the Vatican City State (VCS).

Official Publications

Since 1908 the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) has been responsible for publishing Acta Apostolicae Sedis, together with its supplements, on a periodic basis. AAS constitutes the official bulletin or gazette for the Holy See, and contains papal encyclicals, apostolic constitutions, and other forms of pontifical acts.  Since this is a publication of the Holy See much of what is published in AAS is not directly related to the governing of the VCS; however it is the official, Latin language source for pontifical acts and canon laws.  Legislation pertaining just to the governance of the VCS is usually published in the supplement to the AAS.  Prior to 1908 official documents were published in Acta Sanctae Sedis (1865-1908).  

  • Acta Apostolicae Sedis; commentarium officiale.  (MULLEN Canon Law BV2. A5)  Available online along with its predecessor Acta Sanctae Sedis (see links below)

The Vatican Publishing House is also responsible for publishing the daily newspaper of the VCS, L’Osservatore Romano (“The Roman Observor”).  The daily edition is published in Italian; however since 1968 a weekly, English language compendium edition has also been published. Although the foci of the newspaper are the daily activities of the pope and news from within the Church, the newspaper also reports items of interest regarding the governing of the VCS.

  • L’Osservatore Romano.  (MULLEN STACKS BQ2. O84 E5).  Also available online (see link below).