Foreign Policy Blogs

Inside the Vatican (2001)


It is said the Vatican thinks in centuries, not years, and, after watching this documentary, the viewer can see why.

Despite it being a bit dated, this documentary sheds light on the inner workings of the smallest nation in the world.

Narrated by Martin Sheen, it takes the viewer behind the scenes as an army of maintenance people and art restorers try to maintain the nation state and its rich heritage.

The Vatican recently announced that Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, has been cleared by Pope Francis for canonization. Pope John Paul II was in power when this film was made and his controversial stands on issues like abortion and third world debt are briefly addressed.

Also, the history of the Swiss Guard is shown as is the miles-long library that houses some of the most ancient writings in the world.

The Vatican’s storied beginning as being built on the grave of the first pope, Peter the apostle, is covered.

The filmmakers also don’t flinch when telling the story of some very corrupt popes over time.

The Vatican’s power is illuminated by showing how it has diplomatic relationships with more than 170 countries.

The Vatican was at one time the locus of one of Europe’s political and military powers. The influence it wields today is one of soft power.

This documentary does a fine job of presenting the city that is ground zero for the world’s one billion Roman Catholics.

Inside the Vatican is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy
Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;


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