The pope can do many things and certainly has much moral authority. Hence, it sounds reasonable for the pope to be able to notarize (certify) Vatican documents. Also in history, many notaries were appointed by the pope (according to the German Wikipedia).

However, in a discussion we were not able to find evidence supporting or contradicting the claim that the pope can notarially certify documents.

Even though for most people this question is only of theoretical relevance, we nevertheless had the impression that it is interesting.

  • 2
    As head of state and king of the Vatican, surely anyone else who could be a notary would be only doing so in his name. It's like how the queen doesn't have a passport because she's the one who issues them.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 13 '17 at 13:02

Is the Pope allowed to notarize various Vatican documents?

As the Head of State of Holy See (Vatican), the pope can notarize various documents within the Vatican, especially Papal Documents written by the reigning pontiff. In such cases, the pope would use the Ring Of the Fisherman to confirm an official document written by himself.

Originally, the Fisherman’s Ring was a signet which was used to seal official documents signed by the pope. The private correspondences of the pope were sealed by the use of the Fisherman’s Ring while the public documents were sealed by stamping a different papal seal onto the lead that was attached to the respective document. During the 15th century, the use of the Fisherman’s Ring changed and it started to be used for sealing official documents referred to as papal briefs. This practice ended in 1842, when the lead sealing was replaced with wax. - The Pope's Ring

The pope's signet ring is one of two papal seals used in documents. The other one is a leaden bull (bulla).

The earliest mention of the Fisherman's Ring worn by the popes is in a letter of Clement IV written in 1265 to his nephew, Peter Grossi. The writer states that popes were then accustomed to seal their private letters with "the seal of the Fisherman", whereas public documents, he adds, were distinguished by the leaden "bulls" attached. From the fifteenth century, however, the Fisherman's ring has been used to seal the class of papal official documents known as Briefs. The Fisherman's Ring is placed, by the cardinal camerlengo on the finger of a newly elected pope. It is made of gold, with a representation of St. Peter in a boat, fishing, and the name of the reigning pope around it. - The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Benedict's signet ring, used to authenticate official documents, will be destroyed using special papal silver hammer. (AP)

Pope Benedict's signet ring will be destroyed using special silver papal hammer to ensure documents it was used to sign will not be forged.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .