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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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Government

Country name
Conventional long form
The Holy See (Vatican City State)
Conventional short form Holy See (Vatican City)
Local long form
Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
Local short form
Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

Government type
Ecclesiastical

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 BENEDICT XVI, 19 April (2005)

Constitution
Fundamental Law promulgated by Pope JOHN PAUL II 26 November 2000, effective 22 February 2001 (replaced the first Fundamental Law of 1929)

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

Suffrage
Limited to cardinals less than 80 years old

Executive branch
Chief of state
Pope BENEDICT XVI (since 19 April 2005)
Head of government
Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio BERTONE (since 15 September 2006)
Cabinet
Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City appointed by the pope
Elections
Pope elected for life by the College of Cardinals; election last held on 19 April 2005 (next to be held after the death of the current pope); secretary of state appointed by the pope
Election results
Joseph RATZINGER elected Pope BENEDICT XVI

Legislative branch
Unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State

Judicial branch
There are three tribunals responsible for civil and criminal matters within Vatican City; three other tribunals rule on issues pertaining to the Holy See
Note
Judicial duties were established by the Motu Proprio, papal directive, of Pope PIUS XII on 1 May 1946

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

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission
Apostolic Nuncio Carlo Maria VIGANO
Chancery
3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 333-7121
FAX [1] (202) 337-4036

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador Miguel Humberto DIAZ
Embassy
Villa Domiziana, Via delle Terme Deciane 26, 00153 Rome
Mailing address PSC 833, Box 66, APO AE 09624
Telephone [39] (06) 4674-3428
FAX [39] (06) 575-3411

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

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


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