Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The State of the Vatican City (Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanæ), is a landlocked enclave surrounded by the city of Rome in Italy, and the smallest independent state in the world (both in area and in population). The Vatican is the home of the Pope, and forms the territory of the Holy See, the central authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican City includes the Vatican Hill (Mons Vaticanus), whose name predates Christianity, and the Vatican Fields north of the hill, upon which St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums are built.
|National motto: None|
|Cardinal Secretary of State||Angelo Cardinal Sodano|
- % water
|Ranked 261st |
- Total (2004)
|Ranked 192nd |
11 February 1929
| Time zone |
- in summer
| CET (UTC+1)|
|National anthem||Inno e Marcia Pontificale|
Main article History of the Vatican City
It is supposed that this originally uninhabited part of Rome (the ager vaticanus) had always been considered sacred, even before the arrival of Christianity. In 326 the first church was built on the supposed site of the tomb of Saint Peter, and from then on the area started to become more populated.
Popes in their secular role gradually extended their control over neighbouring regions and through the Papal States ruled a large portion of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when most of the territory of the Papal States was seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy.
In 1870, the Pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved on February 11, 1929 by three Lateran treaties, which established the independent state of the Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a new concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain provisions of the earlier treaty, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion.
Main article Politics of the Vatican City
The Vatican is technically a rare case of a non-hereditary elective monarchy; the monarch, the Pope, being elected for life by those Cardinals under the age of 80 during a Conclave (held in the Sistine Chapel). The Pope exercises supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the Holy See and the State of the Vatican City.
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. 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. The Pope delegates the internal administration of the Vatican City to the Pontifical Commission for the State of the Vatican City. The legal system is based on canon, or ecclesiastical, law; if canon law is not applicable the laws of the city of Rome apply.
The Pope appoints various members of the Roman Curia to assist in governance of Vatican City. Executive authority is vested in the Governor of Vatican City . The Cardinal Secretary of State is responsible for the foreign relations of the Holy See, and therefore the Vatican. The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State is the legislature of Vatican City, with members appointed by the pope to 5 year terms. During a sede vacante (papal vacancy), the Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, former Secretary of State, and former President of the Pontifical Commission form one commission who perform some of the functions of the head of state; while another made up of the Chamberlain and three cardinals, one chosen by lot every three days from each order of cardinals, performing other functions of the head of state. All decisions of these commissions must be approved by the College of Cardinals.
Created in 1929 to provide a territorial identity for the Holy See in Rome, the State of the Vatican City is a recognized national territory under international law. The Holy See, however, enters into international agreements and receives and sends diplomatic representatives. Foreign embassies are located in the Italian part of Rome due to the very limited territory of the state; Italy actually hosts its own Embassy of Italy. The Holy See is a permanent observer in the United Nations, and in July, 2004, gained all the rights of full membership except voting. According to Archbishop Celestino Migliore , Holy See Permanent Observer, "We have no vote because this is our choice." He added that the Vatican considers that its current status "is a fundamental step that does not close any path for the future. The Holy See has the requirements defined by the UN statute to be a member state and, if in the future it wished to be so, this resolution would not impede it from requesting it."
Administration of the Vatican City
The Pope delegates the internal administration of the Vatican City to the Pontifical Commission for the State of the Vatican City . The Vatican City maintains the Swiss Guards, a voluntary military force, as well as a modern security corps. It has its own post office, commissary, bank, railway station, electrical generating plant, and publishing house. The Vatican also issues its own coins, stamps and internet domain (.va). Radio Vatican, the official radio station, is one of the most influential in Europe. L'Osservatore Romano is the semi-official newspaper, published daily in Italian, and weekly in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and French (plus a monthly edition in Polish). It is published by Catholic laymen but carries official information.
Administration of the Holy See
The Pope rules the Holy See through the Roman Curia and the Papal Civil Service . The Roman Curia consists of the Secretariat of State , nine Congregations, three Tribunals, 11 Pontifical Councils , and a complex of offices that administer church affairs at the highest level. The Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, directs and coordinates the Curia. Currently, due to the death of Pope John Paul II, the seats associated with the Secretariat of State are vacant. Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI will fill these positions when necessary.
Among the most active of the major Curial institutions are the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees church 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 are responsible for judicial power. The Apostolic Penitentiary deals with matters of conscience; the Sacra Rota is responsible for appeals, including annulments of marriage; and the Apostolic Signatura is the final court of appeal.
The Prefecture for Economic Affairs coordinates the finances of the Holy See departments and supervises the administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, an investment fund dating back to the Lateran Pacts. A committee of 15 cardinals, chaired by the Secretary of State, has final oversight authority over all financial matters of the Holy See, including those of the Institute for Works of Religion , the Vatican bank.
Main article Geography of the Vatican City
The Vatican City is situated on the Vatican Hill in the north-western part of Rome, several hundred metres west of the Tiber river, on the latter's right bank. Its borders (3.2km in total, all with Italy) closely follow the city wall constructed to protect the Pope from outside attack. The situation is more complex at the famous St. Peter's Square in front of the St. Peter's Basilica, where the correct border is the middle of the round area surrounded by Bernini's columns. It is the smallest sovereign state in the world at 0.44 km² (108.7 acres). According to the Lateran Treaties certain properties of the Holy See, although not being part of the territory of the City State, enjoy the privilege of extraterritoriality (e.g. Major Basilicas, Curial and diocesan offices, Castel Gandolfo). The Pope is the Head of State, though he governs through the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City.
Its climate is naturally the same as Rome's; a temperate, Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters from September to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to September.
Main article Economy of the Vatican City
Budget: Revenues (2003) $252 million; expenditures (2003) $264 million. Industries: printing and production of few mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities. This unique, non-commercial economy is also supported financially by contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to, or somewhat better than, those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.
Main article Demographics of the Vatican City
Almost all of Vatican City's 921 citizens live inside the Vatican's walls. The Vatican citizenry consists mostly of clergy, including high dignitaries, priests, nuns, as well as the famous Swiss Guard, a volunteer military force. There are also about 3,000 lay workers who comprise the majority of the Vatican work force, but who reside outside the Vatican.
The official language is Latin, the otherwise extinct language that originated in Rome and has remained in use in the Roman Catholic Church. Italian and, to a lesser extent, other languages are generally used for most conversations, publications, and broadcasts. Swiss German is the official language of the Swiss Guard.
The Holy See conducts an active diplomacy through the Secretariat of State , headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State. It maintains formal diplomatic relations with 174 nations, 68 of these maintain permanent resident diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See in Rome. The rest have missions located in Italy with dual accreditation. The Holy See maintains 106 permanent diplomatic missions to nation-states. Furthermore, The Holy See has two separate permanent diplomatic missions: one to the European Union, another to the Russian Federation.
The Holy See is especially active in international organizations. The Holy See has diplomatic relations with the European Union (EU) in Brussels, it is a permanent observer of the United Nations Organization (UN), Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, Organization of African Unity (OAU), World Tourist Organization (WToO), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS), Latin Union (LU), International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Holy See is also an observer on an informal basis of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva (WMO), United Nations Committee of Peaceful Use of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), International Maritime Organization (IMO), African Asian Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Holy See is a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (ITSO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), International Grains Council (IGC), International Committee for Military Medicine (ICMM), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). [Source: 2002 Holy See official website]
In 1971, the Holy See announced the decision to adhere to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in order to "give its moral support to the principles that form the base of the treaty itself." The Holy See is also a participating state in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: it is a guest of honour to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe .
Main article Culture of the Vatican City
The Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica or the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most beautiful art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo. The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance.
The permanent population of the Vatican City is predominately male, although two orders of nuns live in the Vatican. A minority are senior Catholic clergy; the remainder are members of religious orders. Many workers in the Vatican City live outside its walls, including the Swiss Guard and embassy personnel.
Men, and especially women, must adhere to strict dress codes.
Transportation and communications
The City is served by an independent, modern post office and telephone system. The Vatican (which has its own country code, .va) has an official website, radio station, and satellite TV channels.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details