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Roman Catholicism in Vatican City

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Roman Catholicism in Vatican City

Vatican City State
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: 
Pontifical Anthem and March
File:United States Navy Band - Inno e Marcia Pontificale.ogg
Legend]

CapitalVatican City
41°54.2′N 12°27.2′E / 41.9033°N 12.4533°E / 41.9033; 12.4533
Official languages Italian[note 1]
Government Ecclesiastical;[1] sacerdotal-monarchical;[2]
absolute monarchy;[3] elective monarchy;[4] elective theocracy.[5]
 -  Sovereign
 -  President of
the Governorate

Giuseppe Bertello[6]
Legislature Pontifical Commission
Independence from the Kingdom of Italy
 -  Lateran Treaty 11 February 1929 
Area
 -  Total 44 ha (250th)
110 acres
Population
 -  July 2013 estimate 839[1] (240th)
 -  Density 1877/km2 (6th)
4,859/sq mi
Currency Euro (€)b (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right[note 2]
Calling code +379[7]
ISO 3166 code VA
Internet TLD .va
a. Since 1 January 2002 (see Italian lira.

Vatican City population.

Vatican City is an ecclesiastical[1] or sacerdotal-monarchical[2] state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope's residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace. The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere.

In the city are 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 tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.

The independent city-state was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of Pope Pius XI and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.[9] The treaty spoke of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy.

Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See,[note 3] which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports for its citizens.

Geography

The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount.[10] The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields. It is in this territory that St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being included within the walls of Leo IV (847–55), and later expanded by the current fortification walls, built under Paul III (1534–49), Pius IV (1559–65) and Urban VIII (1623–44).


When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its form was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall was constructed.

The territory includes St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.

According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies.[11][12] These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See.[12]

Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. St. Peter's Square is ordinarily policed jointly by both.[11]

There are no passport controls for visitors entering Vatican City from the surrounding Italian territory. There is free public access to Saint Peter's Square and Basilica and, on the occasion of papal general audiences, to the hall in which they are held. For these audiences and for major ceremonies in Saint Peter's Basilica and Square, tickets free of charge must be obtained beforehand. The Vatican Museums, incorporating the Sistine Chapel, usually charge an entrance fee. There is no general public access to the gardens, but guided tours for small groups can be arranged to the gardens and excavations under the basilica. Other places are open only to individuals who have business to transact there.

St. Peter's Square, the basilica and obelisk, from Piazza Pio XII

Climate

The Vatican climate is 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 August. There are some local features, principally mists and dews, caused by the anomalous bulk of St Peter's Basilica, the elevation, the fountains and the size of the large paved square.

Climate data for Vatican City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 11.9
(53.4)
13.0
(55.4)
15.2
(59.4)
17.7
(63.9)
22.8
(73)
26.9
(80.4)
30.3
(86.5)
30.6
(87.1)
26.5
(79.7)
21.4
(70.5)
15.9
(60.6)
12.6
(54.7)
20.4
(68.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.5
(45.5)
8.2
(46.8)
10.2
(50.4)
12.6
(54.7)
17.2
(63)
21.1
(70)
24.1
(75.4)
24.5
(76.1)
20.8
(69.4)
16.4
(61.5)
11.4
(52.5)
8.4
(47.1)
15.2
(59.4)
Average low °C (°F) 3.1
(37.6)
3.5
(38.3)
5.2
(41.4)
7.5
(45.5)
11.6
(52.9)
15.3
(59.5)
18.0
(64.4)
18.3
(64.9)
15.2
(59.4)
11.3
(52.3)
6.9
(44.4)
4.2
(39.6)
10.0
(50)
Precipitation mm (inches) 67
(2.64)
73
(2.87)
58
(2.28)
81
(3.19)
53
(2.09)
34
(1.34)
19
(0.75)
37
(1.46)
73
(2.87)
113
(4.45)
115
(4.53)
81
(3.19)
804
(31.65)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 7.0 7.6 7.6 9.2 6.2 4.3 2.1 3.3 6.2 8.2 9.7 8.0 79.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 120.9 132.8 167.4 201.0 263.5 285.0 331.7 297.6 237.0 195.3 129.0 111.6 2,472.8
Source: Servizio Meteorologico,[13] data of sunshine hours[14]

In July 2007, the Vatican agreed to become the first carbon neutral state. They plan to accomplish this by offsetting carbon dioxide emissions with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary.[15]

Gardens

Within the territory of Vatican City are the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani),[16] which account for more than half of this territory. The gardens, established during the Renaissance and Baroque era, are decorated with fountains and sculptures.

The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres) which is most of the Vatican Hill. The highest point is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West.

The gardens date back to medieval times when orchards and vineyards extended to the north of the Papal Apostolic Palace.[17] In 1279 Pope Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277–1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace and enclosed this area with walls.[18] He planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium).[18]

A panorama of the gardens from atop St. Peter's Basilica

History

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Vatican City
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv, vi
Reference UNESCO region Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1984 (8th Session)

Early history

The name "Vatican" was already in use in the time of the Roman Republic for a marshy area on the west bank of the Tiber across from the city of Rome. Under the Roman Empire, many villas were constructed there, after Agrippina the Elder (14 BC – 18 October AD 33) drained the area and laid out her gardens in the early 1st century AD. In AD 40, her son, Emperor Caligula (31 August AD 12–24 January AD 41; r. 37–41) built in her gardens a circus for charioteers (AD 40) that was later completed by Nero, the Circus Gaii et Neronis,[19] usually called, simply, the Circus of Nero.[20]

Even before the arrival of Christianity, it is supposed that this originally uninhabited part of Rome (the ager vaticanus) had long been considered sacred, or at least not available for habitation. A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess Cybele and her consort Attis remained active long after the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter was built nearby.[21]

The particularly low quality of Vatican wine, even after the reclamation of the area, was commented on by the poet Martial (40 – between 102 and 104 AD).[22] In AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, when the northern army that brought Aulus Vitellius to power arrived in Rome, "a large proportion camped in the unhealthy districts of the Vatican, which resulted in many deaths among the common soldiery; and the Tiber being close by, the inability of the Gauls and Germans to bear the heat and the consequent greed with which they drank from the stream weakened their bodies, which were already an easy prey to disease".[23]

The Vatican Obelisk was originally taken by Caligula from Heliopolis, Egypt to decorate the spina of his circus and is thus its last visible remnant.[24] This area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down.[25]

Opposite the circus was a cemetery separated by the Via Cornelia. Funeral monuments and mausoleums and small tombs as well as altars to pagan gods of all kinds of polytheistic religions were constructed lasting until before the construction of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's in the first half of the 4th century. Remains of this ancient necropolis were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries increasing in frequency during the Renaissance until it was systematically excavated by orders of Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1941. The Constantinian basilica was built in 326 over what was believed to be the tomb of Saint Peter, buried in that cemetery.[26]

From then on, the area became more populated in connection with activity at the basilica. A palace was constructed nearby as early as the 5th century during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus (reigned 498–514).[27]

Papal States

Main article: Papal States

In 592, two years after his election, Pope Gregory I accepted the role of the Bishop of Rome as a temporal ruler of the city of Rome. Gregory used monastic establishments to spread the church's spiritual rule throughout Europe.


Popes in their secular role gradually came to govern neighbouring regions and, through the Roman States, ruled a large portion of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when all of the territory belonging to the Papacy was seized by the newly created Kingdom of Italy. For much of this time the Vatican was not the habitual residence of the Popes, but rather the Lateran Palace, and in recent centuries, the Quirinal Palace, while the residence from 1309–77 was at Avignon in France.

Italian unification

Main article: Roman Question

In 1870, the Pope's holdings were left in an uncertain situation when Rome itself was annexed by the Piedmont-led forces which had united the rest of Italy, after a nominal resistance by the papal forces. Between 1861 and 1929 the status of the Pope was referred to as the "Roman Question".

Italy made no attempt to interfere with the Holy See within the Vatican walls. However, they confiscated church property in many places. In 1871, the Palazzo Quirinale, for centuries the Papal palace, was confiscated by the king of Italy and became the royal palace. Thereafter the popes resided undisturbed within the Vatican walls, and certain papal prerogatives were recognized by the Law of Guarantees, including the right to send and receive ambassadors. But the Popes did not recognise the Italian king's right to rule in Rome, and they refused to leave the Vatican compound until the dispute was resolved in 1929; Pope Pius IX (1846–78), the last ruler of the Papal States, claimed that after Rome was annexed he was a "Prisoner in the Vatican". Forced to give up secular power, the popes focused on spiritual issues.[28]

Lateran treaties

Main article: Lateran Treaty

This situation was resolved on 11 February 1929, when the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy was signed by Prime Minister and Head of Government Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI.[9] The treaty, which became effective on 7 June 1929, established the independent state of Vatican City and reaffirmed the special status of Catholicism in Italy.[29]

World War II

Main article: Vatican City during World War II

Vatican City officially pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Although the city of Rome was occupied by Germany from 1943 and the Allies from 1944, Vatican City itself was not occupied. One of Pius XII's main diplomatic priorities was to prevent the bombing of Rome; so sensitive was the pontiff that he protested even the British air dropping of pamphlets over Rome, claiming that the few landing within the city-state violated the Vatican's neutrality.[30] Before the American entry into the war, there was little impetus for such a bombing, as the British saw little strategic value in it.[30]

After the American entry into the war, the US opposed such a bombing, fearful of offending Catholic members of its military forces, while the British then supported it.[31] Pius XII similarly advocated for the declaration of Rome as an "open city", but this occurred only on 14 August 1943, after Rome had already been bombed twice.[32] Although the Italians consulted the Vatican on the wording of the open city declaration, the impetus for the change had little to do with the Vatican.[33]

1980s – present

In 1984, a new concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain provisions of the earlier treaty, including the position of Catholicism as the Italian state religion, a position given to it by a statute of 1848.[29]

Construction in 1995 of a new guest house, Domus Sanctae Marthae, adjacent to St Peter's Basilica was criticised by Italian environmental groups, backed by Italian politicians. They claimed the new building would block views of the Basilica from nearby Italian apartments. For a short while the plans strained the relations between the Vatican and the Italian government. The head of the Vatican's Department of Technical Services robustly rejected challenges to the Vatican State's right to build within its borders.[34]

Governance

The politics of Vatican City takes place in an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic Church takes power. The Pope exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), which is a rare case of a non-hereditary monarchy.[35] The Vatican is the only remaining absolute monarchy in Europe.

Vatican City is currently the only widely recognised independent state that has not become a member of the UN. The Holy See, which is distinct from Vatican City State, has permanent observer status with all the rights of a full member except for a vote in the UN General Assembly.

Political system

The government of Vatican City has a unique structure. The Pope is the sovereign of the state. Legislative authority is vested in the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, a body of cardinals appointed by the Pope for five-year periods. Executive power is in the hands of the President of that commission, assisted by the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary. The state's foreign relations are entrusted to the Holy See's Secretariat of State and diplomatic service. Nevertheless, the pope has full and absolute executive, legislative and judicial power over Vatican City. He is currently the only absolute monarch in Europe.

There are specific departments that deal with health, security, telecommunications, etc.[36]

The Cardinal Camerlengo presides over the Apostolic Camera to which is entrusted the administration of the property and the protection of the temporal rights of the Holy See during a papal vacancy. Those of the Vatican State remain under the control of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. Acting with three other cardinals chosen by lot every three days, one from each order of cardinals (cardinal bishop, cardinal priest, and cardinal deacon), he in a sense performs during that period the functions of head of state of Vatican City. All the decisions these four cardinals take must be approved by the College of Cardinals as a whole.

The nobility that was closely associated with the Holy See at the time of the Papal States continued to be associated with the Papal Court after the loss of these territories, generally with merely nominal duties (see Papal Master of the Horse, Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, Hereditary officers of the Roman Curia, Black Nobility). They also formed the ceremonial Noble Guard. In the first decades of the existence of the Vatican City State, executive functions were entrusted to some of them, including that of Delegate for the State of Vatican City (now denominated President of the Commission for Vatican City). But with the motu proprio Pontificalis Domus of 28 March 1968,[37] Pope Paul VI abolished the honorary positions that had continued to exist until then, such as Quartermaster General and Master of the Horse.[38]

The State of the Vatican City, created in 1929 by the Lateran Pacts, provides the Holy See with a temporal jurisdiction and independence within a small territory. It is distinct from the Holy See. The state can thus be deemed a significant but not essential instrument of the Holy See. The Holy See itself has existed continuously as a juridical entity since Roman Imperial times and has been internationally recognised as a powerful and independent sovereign entity since late antiquity to the present, without interruption even at times when it was deprived of territory (e.g. 1870 to 1929). The Holy See has the oldest active continuous diplomatic service in the world, dating back to at least AD 325 with its legation to the Council of Nicea.[39] Ambassadors are accredited to the Holy See, never to the Vatican City State.

Head of state

Main article: Pope

The Pope is ex officio head of state[40] of Vatican City, functions dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the diocese of Rome. The term Holy See refers not to the Vatican state but to the Pope's spiritual and pastoral governance, largely exercised through the Roman Curia.[41] His official title with regard to Vatican City is Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City.

Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected on 13 March 2013. Francis took the unusual decision to live in the Vatican's guest house, Domus Sanctae Marthae, rather than the Papal Apartments of the Apostolic Palace which is the official papal residence. He still carries out his business and meets foreign representatives in the Palace.

His principal subordinate government official for Vatican City is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, who since 1952 exercises the functions previously belonging to the Governor of Vatican City. Since 2001, the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State also has the title of President of the Governorate of the State of Vatican City. The current President is Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, who was appointed on 1 October 2011.

Administration

Legislative functions are delegated to the unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, led by the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. Its seven members are cardinals appointed by the pope for terms of five years. Acts of the commission must be approved by the pope, through the Holy See's Secretariat of State, and before taking effect must be published in a special appendix of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Most of the content of this appendix consists of routine executive decrees, such as approval for a new set of postage stamps.

Executive authority is delegated to the Governorate of Vatican City. The Governorate consists of the President of the Pontifical Commission—using the title "President of the Governorate of Vatican City"—a general secretary, and a Vice general secretary, each appointed by the pope for five-year terms. Important actions of the Governorate must be confirmed by the Pontifical Commission and by the Pope through the Secretariat of State.

The Governorate oversees the central governmental functions through several departments and offices. The directors and officials of these offices are appointed by the pope for five-year terms. These organs concentrate on material questions concerning the state's territory, including local security, records, transportation, and finances. The Governorate oversees a modern security and police corps, the Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano.

Judicial functions are delegated to a supreme court, an appellate court, a tribunal (Tribunal of Vatican City State), and a trial judge. At the Vatican's request, sentences imposed can be served in Italy (see the section on crime, below).

The international postal country code prefix is SCV, and the only postal code is 00120 – altogether SCV-00120.[42]

Military and police

Main articles: Military of Vatican City and Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City

The military defence of Vatican City is provided by Italy and its armed forces, given the fact that Vatican City is an enclave within the Italian Republic. Vatican City has no armed force of its own, the Swiss Guard being a corps of the Holy See responsible for the security of the Pope.

Though, like various European powers, earlier Popes recruited Swiss mercenaries as part of an army for the Papal States, the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II on 22 January 1506 as the personal bodyguard of the Pope and continues to fulfil 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 Army with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least 174 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 Palatine Guard and the Noble Guard were disbanded by Pope Paul VI in 1970.[43] While the first body was founded as a militia at the service of the Papal States, its functions within the Vatican state, like those of the Noble Guard, were merely ceremonial.

The Gendarmerie Corps (Corpo della Gendarmeria) is the gendarmerie, or police and security force, of Vatican City and the extraterritorial properties of the Holy See.[44] The corps is responsible for security, public order, border control, traffic control, criminal investigation, and other general police duties in Vatican City including providing security for the pope outside of Vatican City. The corps has 130 personnel and is a part of the Security and Civil Defense Services Department (which also includes the Vatican Fire Brigade), an organ of the Governorate of Vatican City.[45][46]

Foreign relations


Vatican City State is a recognised national territory under international law, but it is the Holy See that conducts diplomatic relations on its behalf, in addition to the Holy See's own diplomacy, entering into international agreements in its regard. The Vatican City State thus has no diplomatic service of its own.

Because of space limitations, Vatican City is one of the few countries in the world that is unable to host embassies. Foreign embassies to the Holy See are located in the city of Rome; only during the Second World War were the staff of some embassies accredited to the Holy See given what hospitality was possible within the narrow confines of Vatican City—embassies such as that of the United Kingdom while Rome was held by the Axis Powers and Germany's when the Allies controlled Rome.

The size of Vatican City is thus unrelated to the large global reach exercised by the Holy See as an entity quite distinct from the state.[47]

However, Vatican City State itself participates in some international organizations whose functions relate to the state as a geographical entity, distinct from the non-territorial legal persona of the Holy See. These organizations are much less numerous than those in which the Holy See participates either as a member or with observer status. They include the following eight, in each of which Vatican City State holds membership:[48][49]

It also participates in:[48]

Economy

The Vatican City State budget[note 4] includes the Vatican Museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.[51] Other industries include printing, the production of mosaics, and the manufacture of staff uniforms.

The Institute for Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank, and with the acronym IOR (Istituto per le Opere di Religione), is a bank situated in the Vatican that conducts worldwide financial activities. It has an ATM with instructions in Latin, possibly the only such ATM in the world.[52]

Vatican City issues its own coins. It has used the euro as its currency since 1 January 1999, owing to a special agreement with the European Union (council decision 1999/98/CE). Euro coins and notes were introduced in 1 January 2002—the Vatican does not issue euro banknotes. Issuance of euro-denominated coins is strictly limited by treaty, though somewhat more than usual is allowed in a year in which there is a change in the papacy.[53] Because of their rarity, Vatican euro coins are highly sought by collectors.[54] Until the adoption of the Euro, Vatican coinage and stamps were denominated in their own Vatican lira currency, which was on par with the Italian lira.

The Vatican City State, which employs nearly 2,000 people, had a surplus of 6.7 million euros in 2007 but ran a deficit in 2008 of over 15 million euros.[55]

In 2012, the U.S. State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed Vatican City for the first time among the nations of concern for money-laundering, placing it in the middle category, which includes countries such as Ireland, but not among the most vulnerable countries, which include the United States itself, Germany, Italy and Russia.[56]

Demographics

Population and languages

Further information: Languages of Vatican City

Almost all of Vatican City's 839 (2013 est.)[1] citizens either live inside the Vatican's walls or serve in the Holy See's diplomatic service in embassies (called "nunciatures"; a papal ambassador is a "nuncio") around the world. The Vatican citizenry consists almost entirely of two groups: clergy, most of whom work in the service of the Holy See, and a very few as officials of the state; and the Swiss Guard. Most of the 2,400 lay workers who comprise the majority of the Vatican workforce reside outside the Vatican and are citizens of Italy, while a few are citizens of other nations. As a result, all of the City's actual citizens are Catholic as are all the places of worship.

Vatican City has no formally enacted official language, but, unlike the Holy See which most often uses Latin for the authoritative version of its official documents, Vatican City uses only Italian in its legislation and official communications.[57] Italian is also the everyday language used by most of those who work in the state. In the Swiss Guard, German is the language used for giving commands, but the individual guards take their oath of loyalty in their own languages, German, French, Romansh or Italian. Vatican City's official website languages are Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. (This site should not be confused with that of the Holy See, which uses all these languages, along with Portuguese, with Latin since 9 May 2008 and Chinese since 18 March 2009.)

Citizenship

Before 1 March 2011

Unlike citizenship of other states, which is based either on jus sanguinis (birth from a citizen, even outside the state's territory) or on jus soli (birth within the territory of the state), citizenship of Vatican City is granted jus officii, namely on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See. It usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment. Citizenship is extended also to the spouse, parents and descendants of a citizen, provided they are living with the person who is a citizen.[58][59]

Anyone who loses Vatican citizenship and does not possess other citizenship automatically becomes an Italian citizen as judged by Italian law.[11]

As of 31 December 2005, there were, apart from the Pope himself, 557 people with Vatican citizenship, while there were 246 residents in the state who did not have its citizenship.

Of the 557 citizens, 74% were clergy:

  • 58 cardinals, resident in Rome, mostly outside the Vatican;
  • 293 clergy, members of the Holy See's diplomatic missions, resident in other countries, and forming well over half the total of the citizens;
  • 62 other clergy, working but not necessarily living in the Vatican.

The 101 members of the Papal Swiss Guard constituted 18% of the total, and there were only 43 other lay persons with Vatican citizenship.[60]

After 1 March 2011

On 22 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a new "Law concerning citizenship, residency and access" to Vatican City, which became effective on 1 March. It replaced the 1929 "Law concerning citizenship and residence".[61] There are 16 articles in the new law, whereas the old law had 33 articles.[62] Vatican citizenship is held by the pope, cardinals residing in Vatican City, active members of the Holy See's diplomatic service, and other directors of Vatican offices and services.[62] The 2011 law created a new category, that of official Vatican "residents", i.e., people living in Vatican City; these are not necessarily Vatican citizens.[62] On 1 March 2011, only 220 of the over 800 people living in the Vatican were Vatican citizens. Citizens were 572: the 352 who were not residents were largely apostolic nuncios and diplomatic staff.[62]

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St. Peter's Basilica, looking over the Vatican's Saint Peter's Square (centre) and out into Rome, showing Vatican City in all directions.

Culture


Vatican City is home to some of the most famous art in the world. St. Peter's Basilica, whose successive architects include Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini, is a renowned work of Renaissance architecture. The Sistine Chapel is famous for its frescos, which include works by Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Botticelli as well as the ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo. Artists who decorated the interiors of the Vatican include Raphael and Fra Angelico.

The Vatican Apostolic Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire state.[63] Furthermore, it is the only site to date registered with the UNESCO as a centre containing monuments in the "International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection" according to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.[63]

Infrastructure

Transport

Vatican City has a reasonably well developed transport network considering its size (consisting mostly of a plaza and walkways). As a country that is 1.05 kilometres (0.6 mi) long and 0.85 kilometres (0.5 mi) wide,[64] it has a small transportation system with no airports or highways. The only aviation facility in Vatican City is the Vatican City Heliport. There is a standard gauge railway connected to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station by an 852-metre-long (932 yd) spur, 300 metres (330 yd) of which is within Vatican territory.[65]

Pope John XXIII was the first Pope to make use of this railway. Pope John Paul II rarely used it. The railway is mainly used to transport freight.[65] As Vatican City has no airports (it is one of the few independent states in the world without one, except for the aforementioned heliport), it is served by the airports that serve the city of Rome, namely: Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and to a lesser extent, Ciampino Airport, both of which serve as the departure gateway for the Pope's international visits.[65]

Communications

The City is served by an independent, modern telephone system,[66] the Vatican Pharmacy, and post office. The postal system was founded on 11 February 1929, and two days later became operational. On 1 August, the state started to release its own postal stamps, under the authority of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State.[67] The City's postal service is sometimes recognised as "the best in the world"[68] and mail has been noted to get to its target before the postal service in Rome.[68]

The Vatican also controls its own Internet TLD, which is registered as (.va). Broadband service is widely provided within Vatican City. Vatican City has also been given a radio ITU prefix, HV, and this is sometimes used by amateur radio operators.

Vatican Radio, which was organised by Guglielmo Marconi, broadcasts on short-wave, medium-wave and FM frequencies and on the Internet.[69] Its main transmission antennae are located in Italian territory. Television services are provided through another entity, the Vatican Television Center.[70]

L'Osservatore Romano is the multilingual semi-official newspaper of the Holy See. It is published by a private corporation under the direction of Roman Catholic laymen but reports on official information. However, the official texts of documents are in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official gazette of the Holy See, which has an appendix for documents of the Vatican City State.

Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center, and L'Osservatore Romano are organs not of the Vatican State but of the Holy See, and are listed as such in the Annuario Pontificio, which places them in the section "Institutions linked with the Holy See", ahead of the sections on the Holy See's diplomatic service abroad and the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, after which is placed the section on the State of Vatican City.

Crime

Main article: Crime in Vatican City

Crime in the Vatican City consists largely of purse snatching, pickpocketing and shoplifting by outsiders.[71] The tourist foot-traffic in St. Peter's Square is one of the main locations for pickpockets in Vatican City.[72]

Under the terms of article 22 the Lateran Treaty,[73] Italy will, at the request of the Holy See, punish individuals for crimes committed within Vatican City and will itself proceed against the person who committed the offence, if that person takes refuge in Italian territory. Persons accused of crimes recognized as such both in Italy and in Vatican City that are committed in Italian territory will be handed over to the Italian authorities if they take refuge in Vatican City or in buildings that under the treaty enjoy immunity.[73][74]

Vatican City has no prison system, apart from a few detention cells for pretrial detention.[75] People convicted of committing crimes in the Vatican serve terms in Italian prisons (Polizia Penitenziaria), with costs covered by the Vatican.[76]

See also

Geography portal
Europe portal
Vatican City portal

References

Notes

Footnotes

Bibliography

  • public domain: 

External links

  • Official website of the Holy See
  • Vatican Chief of State and Cabinet Members
  • The World Factbook
  • Holy See (Vatican City) from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • DMOZ
  • BBC News
  • Atlas of Vatican City
  • Geographic data related to OpenStreetMap

Coordinates: 41°54′14″N 12°27′11″E / 41.904°N 12.453°E / 41.904; 12.453

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