Holy See (Vatican City)

WorldABC.xyz: facts on every entity in the world

Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid-19th century, when many of the Papal States were 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 in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, threats against minority Christian communities in Africa and the Middle East, sexual misconduct by clergy, international development, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1.2 billion people worldwide profess Catholicism - the world's largest Christian faith.

Geography

Location

Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)

Geographic coordinates

41.54° N, 12.27° E

Area 257/257

total: 0.44 sq km

land: 0.44 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about 0.7 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 3.4 km

border countries (1): Italy 3.4 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)

Terrain

urban; low hill

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Saint Peter's Square 19 m

highest point: Vatican Gardens (Vatican Hill) 77 m

Natural resources

none

Land use

agricultural land: 0%

arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 0%

other: 100% (urban area) (2011 est.)

Natural hazards

NA

Environment - current issues

NA

Environment - international agreements

party to: Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution, Environmental Modification

Geography - note

landlocked; enclave in Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; beyond the territorial boundary of Vatican City, the Lateran Treaty of 1929 grants the Holy See extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo (the Pope's summer residence)

People and Society

Nationality

noun: none

adjective: none

Ethnic groups

Italians, Swiss, other

Languages

Italian, Latin, French, various other languages

Religions

Roman Catholic

Population 236/238

1,000 (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 195/233

0% (2014 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 100% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.03% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

VATICAN CITY (capital) 1,000 (2014)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Education expenditures

NA

Government

Country name

conventional long form: The Holy See (Vatican City State)

conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)

local long form: La Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)

local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

etymology: "holy" comes from the Greek word "hera" meaning "sacred"; "see" comes from the Latin word "sedes" meaning "seat," and refers to the Episcopal throne

Government type

ecclesiastical government

Capital

name: Vatican City

geographic coordinates: 41.54° N, 12.27° E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

none

Independence

11 February 1929 (from Italy); note - the three treaties signed with Italy on 11 February 1929 acknowledged, among other things, the full sovereignty of the Holy See and established its territorial extent; however, the origin of the Papal States, which over centuries varied considerably in extent, may be traced back to 754

National holiday

Election Day of Pope FRANCIS, 13 March (2013)

Constitution

previous 1929, 1963; latest adopted 26 November 2000, effective 22 February 2001 (Fundamental Law of Vatican City State); note - in October 2013, Pope Francis instituted a 9-member Council of Cardinal Advisors to reform the administrative apparatus of the Holy See (Roman Curia) to include writing a new constitution (2015)

Legal system

religious legal system based on canon (religious) law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent: no

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: not applicable

note: in the Holy See, citizenship is acquired by law, ex iure, or by adminstrative decision; in the first instance citizenship is a function of holding office within the Holy See as in the case of cardinals resident in Vatican City or diplomats of the Holy See; in the second instance, citizenship may be requested in a limited set of circumstances for those who reside within Vatican City under papal authorization, as a function of their office or service, or as the spouses and children of current citizens; citizenship is lost once an individual no longer permanently resides in Vatican City, normally reverting to the citizenship previously held

Suffrage

election of the pope is limited to cardinals less than 80 years old

Executive branch

chief of state: Pope FRANCIS (since 13 March 2013)

head of government: Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro PAROLIN (since 15 October 2013); note - previous Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio BERTONE will remain as Camerlengo (fiscal administrator), a position he has held since 4 April 2007

cabinet: Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City appointed by the pope

elections/appointments: pope elected for life or until voluntary resignation by the College of Cardinals; election last held on 13 March 2013 (next to be held after the death or resignation of the current pope); Secretary of State appointed by the pope

election results: Jorge Mario BERGOGLIO, formerly Archbishop of Buenos Aires, elected Pope FRANCIS

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State or Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Citta del Vaticano (7 seats; members appointed by the pope to serve 5-year terms)

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (consists of the cardinal prefect, who serves as ex-officio president of the court, and 2 other cardinals of the Prefect Signatura); note - judicial duties were established by the Motu Proprio, papal directive, of Pope PIUS XII on 1 May 1946; most Vatican City criminal matters are handled by the Republic of Italy courts

judge selection and term of office: cardinal prefect appointed by the Pope; the other 2 cardinals of the court appointed by the cardinal prefect on a yearly basis

subordinate courts: Appellate Court of Vatican City; Tribunal of Vatican City

Political parties and leaders

none

Political pressure groups and leaders

none (exclusive of influence exercised by church officers)

International organization participation

CE (observer), IAEA, Interpol, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Schengen Convention (de facto member), SICA (observer), UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNHCR, Union Latina (observer), UNWTO (observer), UPU, WIPO, WTO (observer)

Flag description

two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the arms of the Holy See, consisting of the crossed keys of Saint Peter surmounted by the three-tiered papal tiara, centered in the white band; the yellow color represents the pope's spiritual power, the white his worldly power

National symbol(s)

crossed keys beneath a papal tiara; national colors: yellow, white

National anthem

name: "Inno e Marcia Pontificale" (Hymn and Pontifical March); often called The Pontifical Hymn

lyrics/music: Raffaello LAVAGNA/Charles-Francois GOUNOD

note: adopted 1950

Economy

Economy - overview

The Holy See is supported financially by a variety of sources, including investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets. Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and from direct donations go to a non-budgetary fund, known as Peter's Pence, which is used directly by the Pope for charity, disaster relief, and aid to churches in developing nations. Donations increased between 2010 and 2011.

The separate Vatican City State budget 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 publication sales. Its revenues increased between 2010 and 2011 because of expanded opening hours and a growing number of visitors. However, the Holy See has not escaped the financial difficulties engulfing other European countries; in 2012 it started a spending review to determine where to cut costs to reverse its 2011 budget deficit of $20 million. The Holy See generated a modest surplus in 2012 before recording a $32 million deficit in 2013, driven primarily by the decreasing value of gold. Most public expenditures go to wages and other personnel costs; the incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome. In February 2014, Pope FRANCIS created the Secretariat of the Economy to oversee financial and administrative operations of the Holy See, part of a broader campaign to reform the Holy See’s finances.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$NA

Industries

printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps; mosaics, staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities

Labor force 226/233

2,885 (December 2011)

Labor force - by occupation

note: essentially services with a small amount of industry; nearly all dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and the approximately 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican

Population below poverty line

NA%

Budget

revenues: $308 million

expenditures: $326.4 million (2011)

Taxes and other revenues

NA%

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

NA%

Fiscal year

calendar year

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.89 (2015 est.)

0.75 (2014 est.)

0.76 (2013 est.)

0.78 (2012 est.)

0.72 (2011 est.)

Communications

Telephone system

general assessment: automatic digital exchange

domestic: connected via fiber optic cable to Telecom Italia network

international: country code - 39; uses Italian system (2012)

Broadcast media

the Vatican Television Center (CTV) transmits live broadcasts of the Pope's Sunday and Wednesday audiences, as well as the Pope's public celebrations; CTV also produces documentaries; Vatican Radio is the Holy See's official broadcasting service broadcasting via shortwave, AM and FM frequencies, and via satellite and Internet connections (2008)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 5, FM 3, shortwave 5 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

1 (2008)

Internet country code

.va

Internet hosts 207/232

107 (2012)

Military and Security

Military branches

Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia): 19-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; must be Roman Catholic, a Swiss citizen, with a secondary education (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none