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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, international development, the environment, the Middle East, China, the decline of religion in Europe, terrorism, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.


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Geography

Location
Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)

Geographic coordinates
41 54 N, 12 27 E

Map references
Europe

Area World Ranking: 251
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 3.2 km
Border countries Italy 3.2 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 extremes
Lowest point Unnamed location 19 m
Highest point Unnamed elevation 75 m

Natural resources
None

Land use
Arable land 0%
Permanent crops 0%
Other 100% (urban area) (2005)

Irrigated land
0 sq km

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)


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