The labor force consists mainly of priests and other ecclesiastics, who serve as consultants or councilors; about 3,000 laborers, who live outside the Vatican; the guards; the nuns, who do the cooking, cleaning, laundering, and tapestry repair; and the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and other higher dignitaries. Some ecclesiastical officials live outside Vatican City and commute from the secular city. The Association of Vatican Lay Workers, a trade union, has 1,800 members.
Lay employees of the Vatican have always had to be Roman Catholics and swear loyalty to the Pope. Under a new set of rules of conduct implemented in October 1995, new employees have to sign a statement binding them to observe the moral doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.