The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes; Latin pronunciation: [ˈsaŋkta ˈsedes]; Italian: Santa Sede), also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.
As a recognised sovereign subject of international law, headed by the Pope, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy. The Holy See maintains bilateral diplomatic relations with 172 sovereign states, signs concordats and treaties, and performs multilateral diplomacy with multiple intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations and its agencies, the Council of Europe, the European Communities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe the Organization of American States and the Organization for African Unity. The Holy See is administered by the Roman Curia (Latin for Roman Court), similar to a centralised government, with the Cardinal Secretary of State as its chief administrator, in addition to various dicasteries, comparable to ministries and executive departments. Papal elections are carried out by the College of Cardinals.
Although the Holy See is sometimes metonymically referred to as the "Vatican", the Vatican City State was distinctively established with the Lateran Treaty (1929) between the Holy See and Italy to ensure the temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence of the Papacy. As such, ambassadors are officially accredited to the Holy See and not the Vatican City State. Conversely, Papal nuncios to states and international organisations are recognised as representing the Holy See and the integrity of the Catholic Church along with its 1.3 billion members, not the Vatican City State, as prescribed also in the Canon law of the Catholic Church (1983). The "Holy See" thus refers to the See of Rome viewed as the central government of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, in turn, is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, while the diplomatic status of the Holy See facilitates the access of its vast international network of charities.
Coat of arms
|Capital||Vatican City (de facto)|
(Extraterritorial properties around Rome, Italy)
|Ecclesiastical jurisdiction||Diocese of Rome|
(universal full communion) Catholic Church
|Type||Apostolic episcopal see of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, head of the worldwide Catholic Church|
|Government||Unitary absolute monarchy under an ecclesiastical and elective theocracy|
|Sovereign subject of international law|
|1st century by Saint Peter|
("Prince of the Apostles")
|Early Church – Antiquity|
(Canon law; legal history)
|728 (territory in Duchy of Rome by Lombard King Liutprand)|
|756 (sovereignty in Duchy of Rome by Frankish King Pepin)|
(See also: Dictatus papae, 1075)
(under the Kingdom of Italy)
|11 February 1929|
The word "see" comes from the Latin word "sedes", meaning "seat", which refers to the Episcopal throne (cathedra). The term "Apostolic See" can refer to any see founded by one of the Apostles, but, when used with the definite article, it is used in the Catholic Church to refer specifically to the see of the Bishop of Rome, whom that Church sees as successor of Saint Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. While Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is perhaps the church most associated with the Papacy, the actual cathedral of the Holy See is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran within the city of Rome.[note 1]
Every see is considered holy. In Greek, the adjective "holy" or "sacred" (ἱερά transliterated as hiera) is constantly applied to all such sees as a matter of course. In the West, the adjective is not commonly added, but it does form part of an official title of two sees: besides the Diocese of Rome ("the Holy See"), the Bishopric of Mainz (the former Archbishopric of Mainz, which was also of electoral and primatial rank) bears the title of "the Holy See of Mainz" (Latin: Sancta Sedes Moguntina).
The apostolic see of Rome was established in the 1st century by Saint Peter ("Prince of the Apostles") and Saint Paul, then the capital of the Roman Empire, according to Catholic tradition. The legal status of the Catholic Church and its property was recognised by the Edict of Milan in 313 by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, and it became the state church of the Roman Empire by the Edict of Thessalonica in 380.
After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the temporal legal jurisdisction of the Papal primacy was further recognised as promulgated in Canon law. The Holy See was granted territory in Duchy of Rome by the Donation of Sutri in 728 of King Liutprand of the Lombards, and sovereignty by the Donation of Pepin in 756 by King Pepin of the Franks.
The Papal States held extensive territory and armes forces in 756–1870. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as Roman Emperor by translatio imperii in 800. The Papal coronations of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from 858 and the Dictatus papae in 1075 mark the peak of the pope's temporal power claims. Several contemporary states still trace their own sovereignty to recognition in medieval Papal bulls.
Sovereignty of the Holy See was retained despite multiple sacks of Rome during the Early Middle Ages. Yet, relations with the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy Roman Empire were at times strained, reaching from the Diploma Ottonianum and Libellus de imperatoria potestate in urbe Roma regarding the "Patrimony of Saint Peter" in the 10th century, to the Investiture Controversy in 1076-1122, and settled again by the Concordat of Worms in 1122. The exiled Avignon Papacy during 1309-1376 also put a strain on the Papacy, which was however finally returned to Rome. Pope Innocent X was critical of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 as it weakened the authority of the Holy See throughout much of Europe. Following the French Revolution, the Papal States briefly were occupied as the "Roman Republic" from 1798 to 1799 as a sister republic of the First French Empire under Napoleon, before their territory was reestablished.
Notwithstanding, the Holy See was represented in and identified as a "permanent subject of general customary international law vis-à-vis all states" in the Congress of Vienna of 1814 to 1815. The Papal States were recognised under the rule of the Papacy and largely restored to their former extent. Despite the Capture of Rome in 1870 by the Kingdom of Italy and the Roman Question during the Savoyard era (which made the Pope a "prisoner in the Vatican" from 1870 to 1929), its international legal subject was "constituted by the ongoing reciprocity of diplomatic relationships" that not only were maintained but multiplied.
The Holy See is one of the last remaining seven absolute monarchies in the world, along with Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brunei, and Oman. The Pope governs the Catholic Church through the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia consists of a complex of offices that administer church affairs at the highest level, including the Secretariat of State, nine Congregations, three Tribunals, eleven Pontifical Councils, and seven Pontifical Commissions. The Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, directs and coordinates the Curia. The incumbent, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, is the See's equivalent of a prime minister. Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, acts as the Holy See's minister of foreign affairs. Parolin was named in his role by Pope Francis on 31 August 2013.
The Secretariat of State is the only body of the Curia that is situated within Vatican City. The others are in buildings in different parts of Rome that have extraterritorial rights similar to those of embassies.
Among the most active of the major Curial institutions are the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees the Catholic Church's doctrine; the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates the appointment of bishops worldwide; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees all missionary activities; and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which deals with international peace and social issues.
Three tribunals exercise judicial power. The Roman Rota handles normal judicial appeals, the most numerous being those that concern alleged nullity of marriage. The Apostolic Signatura is the supreme appellate and administrative court concerning decisions even of the Roman Rota and administrative decisions of ecclesiastical superiors (bishops and superiors of religious institutes), such as closing a parish or removing someone from office. It also oversees the work of other ecclesiastical tribunals at all levels. The Apostolic Penitentiary deals not with external judgments or decrees, but with matters of conscience, granting absolutions from censures, dispensations, commutations, validations, condonations, and other favors; it also grants indulgences.
The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See coordinates the finances of the Holy See departments and supervises the administration of all offices, whatever be their degree of autonomy, that manage these finances. The most important of these is the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
The Holy See does not dissolve upon a Pope's death or resignation. It instead operates under a different set of laws sede vacante. During this interregnum, the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia (such as the prefects of congregations) cease immediately to hold office, the only exceptions being the Major Penitentiary, who continues his important role regarding absolutions and dispensations, and the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, who administers the temporalities (i.e., properties and finances) of the See of St. Peter during this period. The government of the See, and therefore of the Catholic Church, then falls to the College of Cardinals. Canon law prohibits the College and the Camerlengo from introducing any innovations or novelties in the government of the Church during this period.
In 2001, the Holy See had a revenue of 422.098 billion Italian lire (about US$202 million at the time), and a net income of 17.720 billion Italian lire (about US$8 million). According to an article by David Leigh in the Guardian newspaper, a 2012 report from the Council of Europe identified the value of a section of the Vatican's property assets as an amount in excess of €680m (£570m); as of January 2013, Paolo Mennini, a papal official in Rome, manages this portion of the Holy See's assets—consisting of British investments, other European holdings and a currency trading arm. The Guardian newspaper described Mennini and his role in the following manner: "... Paolo Mennini, who is in effect the pope's merchant banker. Mennini heads a special unit inside the Vatican called the extraordinary division of APSA – Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica – which handles the "patrimony of the Holy See"."
The Holy See has been recognized, both in state practice and in the writing of modern legal scholars, as a subject of public international law, with rights and duties analogous to those of States. Although the Holy See, as distinct from the Vatican City State, does not fulfill the long-established criteria in international law of statehood—having a permanent population, a defined territory, a stable government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states—its possession of full legal personality in international law is shown by the fact that it maintains diplomatic relations with 180 states, that it is a member-state in various intergovernmental international organizations, and that it is: "respected by the international community of sovereign States and treated as a subject of international law having the capacity to engage in diplomatic relations and to enter into binding agreements with one, several, or many states under international law that are largely geared to establish and preserving peace in the world."
Since medieval times the episcopal see of Rome has been recognized as a sovereign entity. The Holy See (not the State of Vatican City) maintains formal diplomatic relations with and for the most recent establishment of diplomatic relations with 183 sovereign states, and also with the European Union, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, as well as having relations of a special character with the Palestine Liberation Organization; 69 of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See are situated in Rome. The Holy See maintains 180 permanent diplomatic missions abroad, of which 74 are non-residential, so that many of its 106 concrete missions are accredited to two or more countries or international organizations. The diplomatic activities of the Holy See are directed by the Secretariat of State (headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State), through the Section for Relations with States. There are 15 internationally recognized states with which the Holy See does not have relations. The Holy See is the only European subject of international law that has diplomatic relations with the government of the Republic of China (usually known as Taiwan) as representing China, rather than the government of the People's Republic of China (see Holy See–Taiwan relations).
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office speaks of Vatican City as the "capital" of the Holy See, although it compares the legal personality of the Holy See to that of the Crown in Christian monarchies and declares that the Holy See and the state of Vatican City are two international identities. It also distinguishes between the employees of the Holy See (2,750 working in the Roman Curia with another 333 working in the Holy See's diplomatic missions abroad) and the 1,909 employees of the Vatican City State. The British Ambassador to the Holy See uses more precise language, saying that the Holy See "is not the same as the Vatican City State. … (It) is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from the Vatican City State." This agrees exactly with the expression used by the website of the United States Department of State, in giving information on both the Holy See and the Vatican City State: it too says that the Holy See "operates from the Vatican City State".
The Holy See is a member of various International organizations and groups including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Telecommunication Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Holy See is also a permanent observer in various international organizations, including the United Nations General Assembly, the Council of Europe, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Holy See participates as an observer to African Union, Arab League, Council of Europe, Organization of American States, International Organization for Migration, and in the United Nations and its agencies FAO, ILO, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNESCO, UN-HABITAT, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, WFP, WHO, WIPO. It participates as a guest in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and as a full member in IAEA, OPCW, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Although the Holy See is closely associated with the Vatican City, the independent territory over which the Holy See is sovereign, the two entities are separate and distinct. After the Italian seizure of the Papal States in 1870, the Holy See had no territorial sovereignty. In spite of some uncertainty among jurists as to whether it could continue to act as an independent personality in international matters, the Holy See continued in fact to exercise the right to send and receive diplomatic representatives, maintaining relations with states that included the major powers Russia, Prussia and Austria-Hungary. Where, in accordance with the decision of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the Nuncio was not only a member of the Diplomatic Corps but its dean, this arrangement continued to be accepted by the other ambassadors. In the course of the 59 years during which the Holy See held no territorial sovereignty, the number of states that had diplomatic relations with it, which had been reduced to 16, actually increased to 29.
The State of the Vatican City was created by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 to "ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See" and "to guarantee to it an indisputable sovereignty in international affairs." Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's former Secretary for Relations with States, said that the Vatican City is a "minuscule support-state that guarantees the spiritual freedom of the Pope with the minimum territory".
The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with states. Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities. When necessary, the Holy See will enter a treaty on behalf of the Vatican City.
Under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, the Holy See has extraterritorial authority over various sites in Rome and two Italian sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo. The same authority is extended under international law over the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in a foreign country.
Though, like various European powers, earlier Popes recruited Swiss mercenaries as part of an army, the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II on 22 January 1506 as the personal bodyguards of the Pope and continues to fulfill that function. It is listed in the Annuario Pontificio under "Holy See", not under "State of Vatican City". At the end of 2005, the Guard had 134 members. Recruitment is arranged by a special agreement between the Holy See and Switzerland. All recruits must be Catholic, unmarried males with Swiss citizenship who have completed their basic training with the Swiss Armed Forces with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least 175 cm (5 ft 9 in) in height. Members are armed with small arms and the traditional halberd (also called the Swiss voulge), and trained in bodyguarding tactics.
The police force within Vatican City, known as the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City, belongs to the city state, not to the Holy See.
The difference between the two coats of arms is that the arms of the Holy See have the gold key in bend and the silver key in bend sinister (as in the sede vacante coat of arms and in the external ornaments of the papal coats of arms of individual popes), while the reversed arrangement of the keys was chosen for the arms of the newly founded Vatican City State in 1929.
The Annuario Pontificio (Italian for Pontifical Yearbook) is the annual directory of the Holy See of the Catholic Church. It lists all the popes to date and all officials of the Holy See's departments. It also gives complete lists with contact information of the cardinals and Catholic bishops throughout the world, the dioceses (with statistics about each), the departments of the Roman Curia, the Holy See's diplomatic missions abroad, the embassies accredited to the Holy See, the headquarters of religious institutes (again with statistics on each), certain academic institutions, and other similar information. The index includes, along with all the names in the body of the book, those of all priests who have been granted the title of "Monsignor".
As the title suggests, the red-covered yearbook, compiled by the Central Statistics Office of the Church and published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, is mostly in Italian.
The 2015 edition had more than 2,400 pages and cost €78.According to the Pontifical Yearbook of 2017, the number of Catholics in the world increased to 1,284,810,000 at the end of 2015.China–Holy See relations
There have been no official People's Republic of China – Holy See relations since 1951. However in September 2018 the PRC and the Holy See signed an agreement allowing the Pope to appoint and veto bishops approved by the Communist Party of China.Concordat
A concordat is a convention between the Holy See and a sovereign state that defines the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in matters that concern both, i.e. the recognition and privileges of the Catholic Church in a particular country and with secular matters that impact on church interests.
According to P.W. Brown the use of the term "concordat" does not appear "until the pontificate of Pope Martin V (1413–1431) in a work by Nicholas de Cusa, entitled De Concordantia Catholica". The first concordat dates from 1098, and from then to the beginning of the First World War the Holy See signed 74 concordats. Due to the substantial remapping of Europe that took place after the war, new concordats with legal successor states were necessary. The post-World War I era saw the greatest proliferation of concordats in history.Although for a time after the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965, the term 'concordat' was dropped, it reappeared with the Polish Concordat of 1993 and the Portuguese Concordat of 2004. A different model of relations between the Vatican and various states is still evolving in the wake of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis humanae.Foreign relations of the Holy See
The Holy See has long been recognised as a subject of international law and as an active participant in international relations. One observer has stated that its interaction with the world has, in the period since World War II, been at its highest level ever. It is distinct from the city-state of the Vatican City, over which the Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction".The diplomatic activities of the Holy See are directed by the Secretariat of State (headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State), through the Section for Relations with States.
The Holy See recognizes all UN member states, except for the People's Republic of China (as the Holy See only recognizes the Republic of China) and North Korea (as the Holy See only has relations with South Korea). The Holy See also recognizes the State of Palestine, the only other non-UN member it recognizes besides Taiwan (ROC).
The term "Vatican Diplomatic Corps", by contrast with the diplomatic service of the Holy See, properly refers to all those diplomats accredited to the Holy See, not those who represent its interests to other nations and international bodies.Holy See Press Office
The Holy See Press Office (Latin: Sala Stampa Sanctae Sedis, Italian: Sala Stampa della Santa Sede) publishes the official news of the activities of the Pope and of the various departments of the Roman Curia. All speeches, messages, documents, as well as the statements issued by the Director, are published in their entirety.
The press office operates every day in Italian, although texts in other languages are also available. Since August 1st 2016 the Director of the Holy See Press Office and Pope's Spokesman is the American journalist Greg Burke. The former head of the press office, with the title director, is Father Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit, while the director before Lombardi was the Spanish layman and medical doctor Joaquín Navarro-Valls.
On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Pope Francis, through an apostolic letter done motu proprio ("on his own initiative") established the Secretariat for Communications in the Roman Curia; the Press Office was incorporated into it, but at the same time belongs to the Secretary of State.On December 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Dr. Greg Burke, formerly the Communications Advisor for the Section for General Affairs of the Vatican's Secretariat of State of the Holy See (a key department in the Roman Curia), as Deputy Director of the Press Office.Following Burke's appointment as director in 2016, however, Spanish journalist Paloma García Ovejero took over as vice director, making her the first woman to hold that position. It was also announced that both Burke and García Ovejero, both laymen, would later begin their positions on 1 August, 2016. On 31 December 2018, both Burke and García Ovejero announced their resignations.Holy See–Russia relations
Holy See–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-Ватиканские отношения) is the bilateral relationship between the Holy See and Russia. The Holy See has an Apostolic Nunciature in Moscow. Russia has a permanent representative to the Holy See based in Rome.
As the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest organization of Eastern Orthodoxy, Holy See–Russia relations partly reflect Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church relations.Holy See–Soviet Union relations
Holy See–Soviet Union relations were marked by a long-standing persecution of the Catholic Church by the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, criticized throughout the Cold War. After a long period of resistance to atheistic propaganda beginning with Benedict XV and reaching a peak under Pius XII, intensified after 1945, the Holy See attempted to enter in a pragmatic dialogue with Soviet leaders during the papacies of John XXIII and Paul VI. In the 1990s, Pope John Paul II's diplomatic policies were cited as one of the principal factors that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.Holy See–United States relations
United States–Holy See relations are bilateral relations between the United States and the Holy See. The principal U.S. official is Ambassador Callista Gingrich. The Holy See is represented by its Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who assumed office on April 12, 2016. The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is located in Rome, in the Villa Domiziana. The Nunciature to the United States is located in Washington, D.C., at 3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.Lateran Treaty
From the Italian unification and as Rome in 1871 became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy, the Holy See lacked a territory, which it earlier had enjoyed ever since the early Middle Ages. This international-Catholic problem was finally solved through the 1929 Lateran Treaty.
The Lateran Treaty (Italian: Patti Lateranensi; Latin: Pacta Lateranensia) was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the "Roman Question". They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929. The Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church.List of ambassadors of the United States to the Holy See
The Ambassador of the United States to the Holy See is the official representative of the United States of America to the Holy See, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. The official representation began with the formal opening of diplomatic relations with the Holy See by President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in 1984.Before the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Postmaster General James Farley was the first high-ranking government official to normalize relations with the Holy See in 1933. In addition, Myron Taylor would serve during World War II as an emissary for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1951, President Harry S. Truman's pick of World War II hero Mark W. Clark was defeated.
Between 1951 and 1968, the United States had no official representative accredited to the Holy See. President Richard Nixon changed this when he appointed Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. as his personal representative. President Jimmy Carter followed with the appointment of former New York City mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Every ambassador to date has been a Roman Catholic. The post is currently occupied by Callista Gingrich, current wife of former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.List of living cardinals
Cardinals are senior ecclesiastical leaders of the Catholic Church, almost always ordained bishops and generally holding important roles within the church, such as governing prominent archdioceses or managing dicasteries within the Roman Curia. They are created in consistories by the pope and one of their foremost duties is the election of a new pope (invariably from among themselves, although not a formal requirement) when the Holy See is vacant, following the death or the resignation of the reigning pontiff. The body of all cardinals is collectively known as the College of Cardinals.Under current ecclesiastical law, as defined by the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis, only cardinals who have not passed their 80th birthday on the day on which the Holy See falls vacant (i.e. cardinals who were born on or after 19 March 1939) are eligible to participate in a papal conclave to elect a new pope.
The same apostolic constitution also imposes a maximum of 120 cardinal electors who can participate in a conclave; this number has occasionally been exceeded, although never at the time of a conclave. Cardinals may also be created in pectore (reserved 'in the breast'), in which they are not publicly revealed by the pope; they do not enjoy the privileges of a cardinal until their names are published. The creations of any such cardinals who have not been revealed at the pope's death or resignation automatically lapse.As of 14 March 2019, there are 222 cardinals, 122 of whom are cardinal electors (despite the aforementioned maximum of 120 cardinal electors). The most recent consistory for the creation of cardinals was held on 28 June 2018, when Pope Francis created fourteen cardinals, including eleven cardinal electors. Orlando Beltran Quevedo was the most recent cardinal elector to turn 80, on 11 March 2019; Edwin Frederick O'Brien will be the next cardinal elector to turn 80, on 8 April 2019. Godfried Danneels was the most recent cardinal to die, on 14 March 2019, at the age of 85.Orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See
The orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See include titles, chivalric orders, distinctions and medals honoured by the Holy See, with the Pope as the fount of honour, for deeds and merits of their recipients to the benefit of the Holy See, the Catholic Church, or their respective communities, societies, nations and the world at large.
Some of these honours are defunct or currently dormant, while some are still actively conferred.Outline of Vatican City
The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to Vatican City:
Vatican City – an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, being the sovereign territory of the Holy See and ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope, the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The territory of this landlocked sovereign city-state consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population.Papal diplomacy
An apostolic nuncio (also known as a papal nuncio or simply as a nuncio) is an ecclesiastical diplomat, serving as an envoy or a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a state or to an international organization. A nuncio is appointed by and represents the Holy See, and is the head of the diplomatic mission, called an Apostolic Nunciature, which is the equivalent of an embassy. The Holy See is legally distinct from the Vatican City or the Catholic Church. A nuncio is usually an archbishop.
An apostolic nuncio is generally equivalent in rank to that of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, although in Catholic countries the nuncio often ranks above ambassadors in diplomatic protocol. A nuncio performs the same functions as an ambassador and has the same diplomatic privileges. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the Holy See is a party, a nuncio is an ambassador like those from any other country. The Vienna Convention allows the host state to grant seniority of precedence to the nuncio over others of ambassadorial rank accredited to the same country, and may grant the deanship of that country's diplomatic corps to the nuncio regardless of seniority. The representative of the Holy See in some situations is called a Delegate or, in the case of the United Nations, Permanent Observer. In the Holy See hierarchy, these usually rank equally to a nuncio, but they do not have formal diplomatic status, though in some countries they have some diplomatic privileges.
In addition, the nuncio serves as the liaison between the Holy See and the Church in that particular nation, supervising the diocesan episcopate (usually a national conference of bishops which has its own chairman, usually the highest-ranking bishop or archbishop, especially if his seat carries the title of primate or he has individually been created a cardinal) and has an important role in the selection of bishops.Politics of Vatican City
The politics of Vatican City take place in a framework of a theocratic absolute elective monarchy, in which the Pope, religiously speaking, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome, exercises ex officio supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), a rare case of non-hereditary monarchy.
The pope is elected in the Conclave, composed of all the cardinal electors (now limited to all the cardinals below the age of 80), after the death or resignation of the previous Pope. The Conclave is held in the Sistine Chapel, where all the electors are locked in (Latin cum clave) until the election for which a two-thirds majority is required. The faithful can follow the results of the polls (usually two in the morning and two in the evening, until election) by a chimney-top, visible from St. Peter's Square: in a stove attached to the chimney are burnt the voting papers, and additives make the resulting smoke black (fumata nera) in case of no election, white (fumata bianca) when the new pope is finally elected. The Dean of the Sacred College (Cardinale Decano) will then ask the freshly elected pope to choose his pastoral name, and as soon as the pope is dressed with the white cassock, the Senior Cardinal-Deacon (Cardinale Protodiacono) appears on the major balcony of St. Peter's façade to introduce the new pope with the famous Latin sentence
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus papam.(I announce to you a great joy: We have a Pope). The term "Holy See" refers to the composite of the authority, jurisdiction, and sovereignty vested in the Pope and his advisers to direct the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. It is therefore quite distinct from the Vatican City state, which was created in 1929, through the Lateran treaties between the Holy See and Italy. As the "central government" of the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy See has a legal personality that allows it to enter into treaties as the juridical equal of a state and to send and receive diplomatic representatives. It has formal diplomatic relations with 179 nations. The State of Vatican City, for its part, is recognized under international law as a sovereign territory. Unlike the Holy See, it does not receive or send diplomatic representatives, and the Holy See acts on its behalf in international affairs.Pope
The pope (Latin: papa from Greek: πάππας pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff (from Latin pontifex maximus "greatest priest"), is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.While his office is called the papacy, the episcopal see and ecclesiastical jurisdiction is called the Holy See. It is the Holy See that is the sovereign entity of international law headquartered in the distinctively independent Vatican City State, established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 between Italy and the Holy See to ensure its temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is largely derived from his role as the apostolic successor to Saint Peter, to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus, giving him the Keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built.
The apostolic see of Rome was founded by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in 1st century, according to Catholic tradition. The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. In ancient times the popes helped spread Christianity, and intervened to find resolutions in various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages, they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe, often acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs. Currently, in addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and doctrine, the popes are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of human rights.In some periods of history, the papacy, which originally had no temporal powers, accrued wide secular powers rivaling those of temporal rulers. However, in recent centuries the temporal authority of the papacy has declined and the office is now almost exclusively focused on religious matters. By contrast, papal claims of spiritual authority have been increasingly firmly expressed over time, culminating in 1870 with the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility for rare occasions when the pope speaks ex cathedra—literally "from the chair (of Saint Peter)"—to issue a formal definition of faith or morals. Still, the Pope is considered one of the world's most powerful people because of his extensive diplomatic, cultural, and spiritual influence on 1.3 billion Catholics and beyond, as well as the official representative of the Catholic Church being the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, with a vast international network of charities.Secretariat of State (Holy See)
The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See. The Secretariat is divided into three sections, the Section for General Affairs, the Section for Relations with States, and, since 2017, the Section for Diplomatic Staff.Sede vacante
Sede vacante (Latin for "the seat being vacant") is the state of an episcopal see while without a bishop. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the term is used to refer to the vacancy of any see of a particular church, but it comes into especially wide journalistic use when the see is that of the papacy.Vatican City
Vatican City ( (listen)), officially Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano; Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae), is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes). With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population.The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.
The Holy See dates back to early Christianity, and is the primate episcopal see of the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion Catholics around the world distributed in the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy.
Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications.
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