Talk:Holy See

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What is the difference?[edit]

It isn't very clear as to how the Holy See and the State of the Vatican City are different. You say they are repeatedly in both articles, but you don't explain how. Could you please clarify this? Thank you for your time and understanding.--CafeDelKevin (talk) 05:30, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

The Holy See is not a city, Vatican City is. Though headed by the same person, they are in reality as different as the Archdiocese of New York and New York City are. So too the Church of England is distinct from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, though headed by the same individual. Esoglou (talk) 08:38, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, basically, the Holy See is an institution, the Vatican City is a tiny state that the institution has control over. The Holy See could, and did, exist without the State of the Vatican City, and countries could, and did, have diplomatic relations with the Holy See without it having a state. --Cam (talk) 14:02, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
Holy See is a collective term for all territories and people that the Church has control over, Vatican City is where the operations are based in. InTheRevolution2 (talk) 20:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The Holy See is a legal, internationally recognized sovereign state established in antiquity by the apostles. It emerged to have its sovereign powers upon exercising the temporal powers of the Pope over the central Italian peninsula centuries ago. Thus, it began operating as a sovereign state (comparable to a medieval kingdom) ruled by a monarch and the Holy See serving its national government until the Italian Unification. The Vatican City is just a territory established by a concordat known as the Lateran Treaty, as opposed to a sovereign state. --112.206.61.82 (talk) 09:14, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

The use of "the Vatican" to refer to the governance of the Roman Catholic Church is not incorrect. It is a case of metonymy, not a literal reference to the Vatican City state. Underalms (talk) 18:05, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Nazi Gold in see also.[edit]

Greetings, i have since added 'nazi gold' into the 'See Also' area of the article as it is well documented (even on other wikipedia pages such as the vatican city bank page) that the vatican has several hundred million dollars worth of nazi gold for 'safekeeping'. I therefore thought it important to list 'nazi gold' on the 'see also' section of the article as it is related.

Kind regards, anon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.145.151.2 (talk) 16:17, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

sovereignty recognition?[edit]

We have the list of 178 countries recognizing the Holy See as sovereign, established diplomatic relations, etc. But are there other states, that do not recognize it as sovereign entity? Reading this makes me think that there aren't such, but still, having in mind the special status of the Holy See and the related Vatican City State, I think it would be good to have such info confirmed (like we have the "states do not recognize Israel as a state" - there the list of countries with no "established relations/suspended relations/withdrawn their recognition" is separate from the list of countries that do not recognize it "as state").

Also, Foreign relations of the Holy See states - "The Holy See maintains formal diplomatic relations with 178 sovereign states, the European Union, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and has relations of a special nature with the Palestine Liberation Organization.[12] The Holy See maintains 179 permanent diplomatic missions abroad, of which 73 are non-residential, so that it has in all 106 concrete missions, some of which are accredited not only to the country in which they are situated, but also to one or more other countries or international organizations.", and this contradicts List of diplomatic missions of the Holy See and Nuncio - where there are more than 106 (but less than 179).

It seems that there are two types of recognizing states:

  1. Recognizing Holy See as sovereign entity, regardless of its status as "state" (the Vatican City)
  2. Recognizing Holy See "as government" (maybe not the proper term) of sovereign state (the Vatican City) only, but not as "non-state sovereign entity"

Here, partial list could be made by the states that recognized it before the 1929 Vatican City establishment.

About the diplomatic missions - it is clear, that out of the 181 entities (178 + EU, SMOM, PLO) with relations (but there is also the non state Jerusalem mission, so maybe there are totaly 182 "locations"?), some do not get even a non-resident diplomat (no accreditation) - if the 179 number is correct. But, as there is no clear distinction in the missions of article about resident and non-resident missions it is impossible to check. It would be helpful to have:

  1. List of physical missions with accredited resident diplomat
  2. List of entities that have non-resident diplomat accredited (and where he is based)
  3. Clarification if the Jerusalem mission is accredited to PLO or there is a separate mission (based in Jerusalem/Ramallah/Gaza?) or PLO is one of the no-accreditation entities)
  4. Clarification if there is physical mission (Rome based) or non-resident diplomat accredited to SMOM (and where is he based, if non-resident)
  5. Clarification if there is physical mission (Brussels based) or non-resident diplomat accredited to EU (and where is he based, if non-resident)

Connected with the above and with the sovereignty recognition is the issue of non-diplomatic (eg. Catholic Church only) representatives. As it seems there are:

  1. The 178 (including Cook Islands, Taiwan [1]) + EU, SMOM - diplomatic relations established
  2. The PLO - special relations
  3. Jerusalem - special mission
  4. Somalia (SMOM relations), Brunei, Malaysia - "there are apostolic delegates, pontifical representatives to the local Catholic communities but not to the government.", "formal contact"
  5. Comoros (SMOM relations), Mauritania (SMOM relations), Laos, Myanmar - "there are apostolic delegates, pontifical representatives to the local Catholic communities but not to the government."
  6. Afghanistan (SMOM relations), Oman (in process of establishing relations), and Vietnam (in process of establishing relations) - "formal contact"
  7. PR China - "semi-official contacts"
  8. Saudi Arabia - "Catholic worship is still officially prohibited", "Islamic Vatican", but nevertheless "formal contact"
  9. Bhutan, North Korea, Tuvalu, Niue, Kosovo ("whose international status is still controversial" - like others with limited recogntion) - nothing in the link
  10. Maldives - "priests are not even allowed to come to assist the many Catholic tourists present in the archipelago"

It would be good if we can find sources showing if some of these ~17 countries do not recognize the Holy See as sovereign, but maybe there are none, as even Saudi Arabia looks to work with it. The respective post about SMOM recognition is here. Alinor (talk) 17:37, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

You have put too many questions for me to digest. Would you please begin by distinguishing between recognizing a state and having diplomatic relations with it. The Holy See recognizes Saudi Arabia: when one of that kingdom's rulers is received by the Pope, the announcement of the audience mentions the kingdom. This contrasts with the situation, at least in the past, in one would-be-Marxist state in Africa which refused to recognize the Republic of Korea: the official media in the country were not allowed to give news about that state but only about "the southern part of Korea"! You need more than the absence of diplomatic relations with the Holy See to conclude that any particular state denies the sovereignty of the Holy See.
If you wish, I will try to answer your questions tomorrow, but only one at a time. Which one? Esoglou (talk) 19:31, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
"You need more than the absence of diplomatic relations with the Holy See to conclude that any particular state denies the sovereignty of the Holy See." - Exactly my point. That is what the post is about. To find out IF there are such cases - to find sources showing "more than the absence of diplomatic relations" IF at all there are such (or as there are only a few states without diplomatic relations - to find the opposite sources showing that they don't deny the sovereignty of the Holy See; even better if explicitly mentioned if they relate this to Vatican City state or not - but I think sources with such distinction would be impossible to find).
Questions. They are basically two:
  • A List of physical missions with accredited resident diplomat and his non-resident accreditations noted, clarifications for the special cases.
  • Of the 17 states without diplomatic relations - do they recognize the Holy See as sovereign (albeit without having relations with it), or do they not recognize it. If possible, do they recognize it as "state", "non-state entity" or both. The state/non-state/both question is applicable to the rest 181 too.
The second question may be impossible to answer - if the states have not made such statements, so if you have to choose - select the first. Alinor (talk) 07:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps I understand better now. With regard to the one I thought I was answering yesterday, it would be hard to find any state, whether it has diplomatic relations with the Holy See or not, that has issued a declaration that it considers the Holy See a state or a non-state entity. Recognition is generally implicit, not express, and this implicit recognition is of a subject of international law, an entity that one interrelates with in public international law, and so, in that sense, a sovereign entity, whether it is a state or not. I have difficulty in believing that any could possibly classify the Holy See as a state. Vatican City State is a state, but not the Holy See.
On your other question, a list of resident missions is given at List of diplomatic missions of the Holy See, and a longer list of countries with which the Holy See has diplomatic relations is given at Nuncio#List of diplomatic posts of the Holy See. (In the same way, the red part of the map on the first page does not cover all the countries marked green in the map at Foreign relations of the Holy See#Bilateral relations.) Comparing the two lists should give you an indication of which countries have a resident diplomatic representative of the Holy See and which a non-resident.
If you want a list by me, the following is my effort. It was made two or three years ago and may not be fully up to date. Names of countries are in Italian. I have ignored Vietnam, because of its uncertain status. You may know that an agreement has been reached for the appointment of a non-resident papal representative (initially, if I remember right, non-diplomatic), but we don't know where he will reside. Symbols in the list are as follows:
> non-resident (the papal representative lives in the country at the start of the line)
= a separate address from that of the mission at the start of the line is given in the Annuario Pontificio, indicating that the papal representative has a residence in the second place also and presumably spends part of the year there. Where it is not clear which (if either) is the primary mission, I have put them in alphabetical order.
~ the nuncio is dean of the diplomatic corps from the moment he presents his credentials
* the nuncio becomes dean of the diplomatic corps only if he becomes the senior resident diplomatic representative of ambassadorial rank (the ordinary rule, with no extraordinary privilege for the nuncio)
^ non-diplomatic status (an apostolic delegate, not a nuncio). I have now added, I hope, italics to each of these non-diplomatic missions. The geographical areas indicated for the competence of apostolic delegates may correspond to those of states, larger regions, or even smaller.
  1. Albania*
  2. Algeria* >Tunisia*
  3. Angola* >São Tomé e Príncipe*
  4. Argentina~
  5. Australia*
  6. Austria~
  7. Bangladesh*
  8. Belgio~ >Lussemburgo~
  9. Benin* >Togo*
  10. Bielorussia*
  11. Bolivia~
  12. Bosnia ed Erzegovina*
  13. Brasile~
  14. Bulgaria*
  15. Burkina Faso* >Niger*
  16. Burundi*
  17. Camerun* >Guinea Equatoriale*
  18. Canada*
  19. Cile~
  20. Cina (chargé d'affaires only, no nuncio)
  21. Colombia~
  22. Congo (Rep)* =Gabon*
  23. Congo (RepDem)*
  24. Corea* >Mongolia*
  25. Costa d'Avorio~
  26. Costa Rica~
  27. Croazia~
  28. Cuba*
  29. Ecuador~
  30. Egitto*
  31. El Salvador~ >Belize*
  32. Etiopia* >Gibuti* >Somalia^
  33. Filippine~
  34. Francia~
  35. Georgia* >Armenia* >Azerbaigian*
  36. Germania~
  37. Gerusalemme e Palestina^ =Cipro* =Israele*
  38. Ghana*
  39. Giappone*
  40. Giordania* =Iraq*
  41. Gran Bretagna*
  42. Grecia*
  43. Guatemala~
  44. Guinea >Gambia* >Liberia* >Sierra Leone*
  45. Haiti~
  46. Honduras~
  47. India* >Nepal*
  48. Indonesia* <Timor Est* >Timor Est*
  49. Iran*
  50. Irlanda~
  51. Italia~ >San Marino~
  52. Kazakhstan* =Kyrgystan* =Tadjikistan* =Uzbekistan*
  53. Kenya*
  54. Kuwait* >Bahrain* >Emirati Uniti Arabi* >Penisola Arabica^ >Qatar* >Yemen*
  55. Libano~
  56. Lituania~ >Estonia* >Lettonia*
  57. Madagascar* >Maurizio* >Seychelles*
  58. Malta~ >Libia*
  59. Marocco*
  60. Messico*
  61. Montenegro*
  62. Mozambico*
  63. Nicaragua~
  64. Nigeria*
  65. Nuova Zelanda* >Isole Cook* >Isole Fiji* >Isole Marshall* >Kiribati* >Micronesia* >Nauru* >Oceano Pacifico^ >Palau* >Samoa* >Tonga* >Vanuatu*
  66. Paesi Bassi*
  67. Pakistan*
  68. Panamá~
  69. Papua Nuova Guinea* >Isole Salomone*
  70. Paraguay~
  71. Perù~
  72. Polonia~
  73. Portogallo~
  74. Rep. Ceca~
  75. Rep. Centroafricana* =Ciad*
  76. Rep. Dominicana~ (>Puerto Rico^)
  77. Romania* >Moldova*
  78. Russia*
  79. Rwanda~
  80. Senegal* >Capo Verde* >Guinea-Bissau* >Malì* >Mauritania^
  81. Serbia*
  82. Siria*
  83. Slovacchia~
  84. Slovenia~ >Macedonia*
  85. Spagna~ >Andorra~
  86. Sri Lanka*
  87. Stati Uniti d'America*
  88. Sud Africa* >Botswana^ >Lesotho* >Namibia* >Swaziland*
  89. Sudan* >Eritrea*
  90. Svezia* >Danimarca* >Finlandia* >Islanda* >Norvegia*
  91. Svizzera~ >Liechtenstein~
  92. Tanzania*
  93. Thailandia* >Brunei Darussalam^ >Cambogia* >Laos^ >Malaysia^ >Myanmar^ =Singapore*
  94. Trinidad e Tobago* >Antigua e Barbuda* >Antille^ >Bahamas* >Barbados* >Dominica* >Giamaica* >Guyana* >Grenada* >Saint Kitts and Nevis* >Santa Lucia* >San Vincenzo e Grenadine* >Suriname*
  95. Turchia* >Turkmenistan*
  96. Ucraina*
  97. Uganda*
  98. Ungheria~
  99. Uruguay~
  100. Venezuela~
  101. Zambia* >Malawi*
  102. Zimbabwe*
  103. Comunità Europee~ >*Monaco

End. Esoglou (talk) 11:30, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Thanks! I will go trough it later, to find out where the number discrepancy comes (eg. what states have no mission and no non-resident nuncio). Just two questions - "Indonesia < Timor-Leste" is with a reversed "<" (instead of ">" like all others) - mistake or this means something? And also, SMOM - is there a "mission to SMOM" or "accredited nuncio", etc.? Alinor (talk) 12:09, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
A mistake.
No mission or nuncio to SMOM, although there is a mission and ambassador from SMOM to Holy See. Esoglou (talk) 13:13, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
OK. I will check the list for if/who are the other no-mission-and-no-accreditation case, but do you have some source explaining why SMOM doesn't have someone accredited? Looking here shows it is in "diplomatic relations" (like the EC - that has a mission) and that even "special relations" PLO has some "office with director". Alinor (talk) 07:28, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
After the establishment of diplomatic relations, some time passes before either side actually sets up a mission. Until then, contacts continue to be from foreign ministry to foreign ministry. Several small states have never set up missions, even non-resident ones, accredited to most of the subjects of international law (states as well as Holy See) with which they have such relations, although the other side may have established a mission to that state decades ago, even a resident mission. In the other direction, for a long time the Holy See had no diplomatic mission accredited to London, while London did have a mission accredited to the Holy See. As is the SMOM situation now. Esoglou (talk) 13:25, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
OK. This still seems strange as for the Holy See this is the only case of diplomatic relations without accredited representative (I checked all the rest - your list matches the 178).
A few questions after going trough the list. China/Taiwan is not marked with ~/* (I understand the charge d'afairs has neither status, but what about the nuncios before him?). Guinea is not market with ~/*. The row " Thailandia* >Brunei Darussalam^ >Cambogia* >Laos^ >Malaysia^ >Myanmar^ =Singapore* " has both ">" and "=" signs - what does it mean? In the source above it is mentioned that Comoros has non-diplomatic representative - in your list it is missing. In the source above it is mentioned that Botswana has diplomatic relations - in your list it is non-diplomatic. Maybe not updated? Alinor (talk) 18:34, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I am preparing a world map colored according to resident/non-resident and ~/*. Alinor (talk) 18:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
When there was a top-ranking head of mission in Taipei - a long time ago - he was neither a nuncio with asterisk nor a nuncio with precedence over other accredited diplomats: he was a pro-nuncio, a title no longer used; if a nuncio were to be appointed today, he would doubtless not be privileged with precedence. Guinea: with asterisk (not privileged). In the Thailandia row, ^ indicates an apostolic delegation (non-diplomatic representation); > indicates non-resident (no address in that country); = indicates that an address within the country is given for a residence of the papal representative in that country. I warned you that I made out that list over a year ago: I would say it remained updated to June last year. The only further updating I did before posting it here was to indicate that Russia now has diplomatic relations. I recall that, since I made out the list, I read of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Botswana. I don't recall reading about Comoros. If you can get a look at this year's Annuario Pontificio, you can find out for yourself. Unfortunately, I only have the 2008 edition, which does not mention Comoros, gives Botswana as an apostolic delegation, and gives Russia as having a resident representative of the Holy See with the rank of nuncio but not a member of the Moscow diplomatic corps. Esoglou (talk) 20:18, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
OK. So, if I understand correctly there is a nuncio with residences in Thailand and Singapore, and he is accredited to Cambodia, and there are non-diplomatic representations in Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar?
About Comoros I mean this [2]: " in seven other countries there are apostolic delegates, pontifical representatives to the local Catholic communities but not to the government. Three of these countries are African: the Comoros, Mauritania, and Somalia. And four of them are Asian: Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar." Alinor (talk) 07:21, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I put the map here: Nuncio#List_of_diplomatic_posts_of_the_Holy_See. Alinor (talk) 08:09, 5 August 2010 (UTC) and a map depending on pre/post-1929 here. Alinor (talk) 13:13, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

A note published today by the Holy See Press Office indicates that the Holy See now has a mission with a permanent address in Malawi. In the list above, ">Malawi" should therefore be changed to "=Malawi". Two days ago, the Press Office announced the appointment of two new nuncios, but without indicating where they are to exercise their functions. Presumably the agrément is awaited of the governments of the countries to which they are destined and/or that of the governments of the countries to which their predecessors are being transferred. When that is clarified, perhaps there will also be an announcement of the appointment of someone as the non-resident representative to the government of Vietnam (a diplomatic representative, not an apostolic delegate). That will also require an adjustment to the list above, which ideally should be checked, when possible, against the 2011 Annuario Pontificio, the annual publication that usually becomes available no later than March. Esoglou (talk) 16:51, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

The expected announcement about Vietnam has come today. The "non-resident papal representative to Vietnam" (neither a nuncio nor an apostolic delegate, and so something like what there was until recently in Russia, except that that representative was resident) is the nuncio to Indonesia, who has had his remit extended to cover Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore also, areas that have been removed from the care of the papal representative to Thailand. That means that the list above requires adjustments to line 48, which becomes:
Indonesia* >Brunei Darussalam^ >Malaysia^ =Singapore* >Timor Est* >Vietnam(Non-Resident Papal Representative);
and to line 93, which becomes:
Thailandia* >Cambogia* >Laos^ >Myanmar^

Merge: Holy Roman Church[edit]

The article Holy Roman Church seems to me unnecessary. The article itself states that it is the same thing as the Diocese of Rome or the Holy See. The only purpose the article itself seems to serve is to define yet another term (which violates WP:NAD). Given that there does not appear to be a unique topic to be discussed there I propose merging here.

--Mcorazao (talk) 15:47, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

P.S. Anticipating a possible concern, even to the extent that Holy Roman Church could be argued to discuss something unique, the question is whether that topic is distinct enough to merit a separate article from Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Rome, or Holy See. Any subtle distinction that could be argued to exist -- I believe -- is better covered in one of the other articles. --Mcorazao (talk) 18:06, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that the term is ambiguous as it could refer to three separate articles. I think in that case, turning it into a disambiguation page is the most proper course of action. Gentgeen (talk) 08:02, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I can support that. Any objections to converting to a disambig? --Mcorazao (talk) 20:54, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

So what is it?[edit]

No where, not here, nor on the "politics: forms of government" page, is there a description of what the Holy See is. I.e., constitutional, parlementary, theocracy?

Nor is there a "clean cut" description of the difference between the Roman Curia and the College of Cardinals. 76.90.74.10 (talk) 20:24, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York "constitutional, parlementary, theocracy"? The same for the See of Rome.
The Roman Curia is a set of offices in Rome, the College of Cardinals is a set of people spread over the world. Esoglou (talk) 20:41, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Merge from Vatican City[edit]

The template is was removed, and I didn't readd the template, but it's not a signal that the discussion is finished. If you need, I can readd the template now. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 05:41, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, the Holy See is the so-called “government” of the whole Roman Catholic church, but this should not be an excuse of speak out “People's Republic of China – Holy See relations”. Imagine one day you see an article “United States – Union of Islamic Organisations of France relations” or “France – Michelle Obama's Husband relations”, what will you think? The article should be moved to “Relations concerning the People's Republic of China and the Holy See” as a disambiguation page, which refers 2 subpages: Relations concerning the People's Republic of China and the Holy See/People's Republic of China – Vatican City State relations and Relations concerning the People's Republic of China and the Holy See/Government of People's Republic of China – Roman Curia relations due to NPOV issues. Plus, you did not answer me why Government of People's Republic of China – Holy See relations is not correct. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 05:57, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
A template can be seen [User:虞海/Relations concerning the People's Republic of China and the Holy See|here]]. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 06:00, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Please do not re-add the template. There is clearly no support for this argument and it will not pass. The Holy See is a special case due to historical reasons. Government of People's Republic of China – Holy See relations is incorrect because the Holy See has relations with countries, not governments. The Holy See is not a normal government, nor is Vatican City a normal country. Please read both articles carefully to understand why, especially here, here and here (which describes it as a sui generis entity). This discussion has now ended and I will not answer anymore questions regarding this topic here. Thanks. – S Masters (talk) 06:33, 22 October 2010 (UTC)


SMasters, you certainly have the right to end your participation in the discussion. However, to assert that the discussion is ended is a bit peremptory on your part. If Yú Hǎi wishes to continue the discussion and others wish to respond, that is their concern not yours. --Richard S (talk) 06:45, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
If Yú Hǎi wishes to continue this discussion, then start a new thread. This particular discussion was for a vote in merging, and many of those who voted, asked for it to be closed. (Either here or via the edit comments). - S Masters (talk) 06:57, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I didn't realize that you meant the discussion about the Merge proposal which should be closed per WP:SNOW. --Richard S (talk) 16:29, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Is the Holy See "bigger" than Vatican City? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 112.206.31.89 (talk) 16:59, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Holy See, Roman Curia and Vatican City State[edit]

I agree with SMasters' assertion that Government of People's Republic of China – Holy See relations would be incorrect but I disagree with his justification. To say that "the Holy See has relations with countries, not governments" is a meaningless assertion. How can there be a difference between a country and a government in this context? The relations are with the countries through the government of that country and, in this specific context, the country and the government are effectively the same thing. When we say "relations with China", we can only mean "relations with the government of the People's Republic of China". The fact that we don't say "government of..." in the article title is because it's superfluous. No English speaker would ever suppose that anything else was meant. --Richard S (talk) 06:45, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, you are correct. Let me clarify. I typed that in haste. The relationship with any particular country, is of course through its government. - S Masters (talk) 06:57, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm... let us consider that we have articles such as Israel – United States relations. In general, I expect that the pattern would be X - Y relations where X and Y are names of countries and not, as has been pointed out above, the names of capitals. Now, when we turn to the Holy See, the problem is that the entity involved here is not a country but a religion, namely the Catholic Church.

Yú Hǎi seems to like consistency and is wondering why we use the phrase "Holy See" in titles. Using the analogy of articles about relations between countries, we might expect that the parallel would be to use the phrase "Catholic Church" in article titles. To this, I can only respond that doing so would sound strange to most people who are familiar with the Catholic Church. The phrase "Holy See" is used to describe the religious, administrative and diplomatic head of the Catholic Church, I admit that using "Holy See" would be somewhat analogous to saying "Washington, D.C.", "Whitehall" or "the Kremlin" and thus would not achieve the consistency that Yú Hǎi seeks. Nonetheless, I think we have to forego consistency and use terms that are used in the real world. "Holy See" is the only way to go.

It's also important to note that there is no substance to Yú Hǎi's arguments about separate articles regarding Relations concerning the People's Republic of China and the Holy See/People's Republic of China – Vatican City State relations and Relations concerning the People's Republic of China and the Holy See/Government of People's Republic of China – Roman Curia relations.

While it would be going too far to say that the Roman Curia and the Holy See are equivalent, the Roman Curia does form an important part of the administration of the Holy See. There is no reason to imagine that any country would have relations with the Roman Curia per se except as part of their relations with the Catholic Church in the form of relations with the Holy See. Almost no countries would have any relations with the Vatican City State as such with the possible exception of Italy. Even then, the head of the Vatican City State is the head of the Holy See (namely the Pope) and so it's takes a stretch to conceive of two separate articles Relations concerning Italy and the Holy See and Relations concerning Italy and the Vatican City State.

The important thing to note here is that most capital cities have a separate city government which is distinct from the government of the country of which it is a capital. The Vatican City State isn't quite so independent. The Vatican City State is both a city and a country and the head of state is the Pope who also happens to be the head of the Holy See and the Catholic Church. What we're talking about is the relations between a country (e.g. the People's Republic of China) and the religion known as "the Catholic Church". It's just that the proper usage here is "the Holy See".

Hope this helps, Yú Hǎi.

--Richard S (talk) 06:35, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

In international organizations, members are designated by the name of the country, not as "Goverment of such-and-such a country". The designation used for the particular member we are speaking of is "Holy See", not "Vatican City State" nor "Catholic Church" nor "Government of ...". In Wikipedia we can only accept this demonstrable fact, not argue that it should not be so.
The status of the Catholic Church as such as an agent in international law is dubious at best. The status as an agent in international law of the Holy See, the episcopal see of Rome that is central for the Catholic Church, is a demonstrable fact, whether we like the fact or not. Esoglou (talk) 09:35, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
I should have added that, in some international organizations (e.g. Universal Postal Union, International Telecommunications Satellite Organization) the Vatican City State, not the Holy See, is a member - see [3] (scroll to the end). These are organizations that concern technical territorial affairs, and so are of the concern of the state. Again the designation is "Vatican City" not "Government of Vatican City" or "Holy See". Another demonstrable fact. Esoglou (talk) 09:57, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Since the "designation used for the particular member" can be Holy See (the government of Vatican City State and Roman Catho...), the designation of other states, when used with Holy See, the particular case, should be particular, too, or it would be a discrimination of other countries. There is no relations between Italy and Holy See, only relations between Italy and Vatican City State, and relations between Government of Italy and Holy See. That the international law allow Holy See to mistreat other countries should not be an excuse of considering writing such "State - Government relations" article neutral. With articles in Template:Foreign relations of the Holy See, only one article is written in neutral sense - Holy See – Palestinian relations: Holy See could not have relations with the State of Palestine (only Vatican City State can), but only relations with Palestinian National Authority. If they can, I may also write an article: My Seat – United States relations.

My Chiar may have complex relations to the United States.

Or Holy See – Vatican City State relations.

Now one thing is clear and a consensus: Holy See=Government of Vatican City State + Roman Curia.

I know that directly seprate these article may produce problem, so I made a tamplate, which can be here. Hope it helps. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 14:37, 22 October 2010 (UTC )

How can you say: "There is no relations between Italy and Holy See, only relations between Italy and Vatican City State, and relations between Government of Italy and Holy See"? Have you never heard of the 1929 Lateran Treaty between Italy (already existing) and the Holy See (already existing), the treaty that brought Vatican City into existence for the first time ever as a separate state? And when the Fascist Government of Italy, which concluded the treaty on behalf of Italy, was no more, the treaty continued to bind the two parties, i.e. Italy and the Holy See. Esoglou (talk) 15:09, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
It is, but not bilaterial relations. There're even relations between my chair and United States, but not bilaterial relations either. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 15:13, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
What else are Italy-Holy See relations but bilateral (between two parties)? I hope you will not be too disappointed to learn that neither the Holy See not the United States are likely to conclude a treaty or exchange ambassadors with your chair! Esoglou (talk) 15:19, 22 October 2010 (UTC)



Yú Hǎi, I understand that you are trying to make sense of the distinction between the Holy See and the Vatican City State. I think the problem here is that you are hung up on making distinctions based on some sort of Aristotelian approach to categorization. Unfortunately, the reality does not lend itself to a straightforward apples-to-apples, oranges-to-oranges comparison. I would urge you to abandon the attempt to make everything fall into nice clean categories and focus on understanding what is true about the Holy See and the Vatican City State in the real world and then work to make Wikipedia explain that reality to the reader.
The most important thing you need to understand is that the Catholic Church lost almost all of its temporal power over the course of the nineteenth century culminating in 1870 when it lost the Papal States. Focusing on the Vatican City State is to focus on a very small country which is much less important than the Singapore city state in terms of economic and political influence. A more appropriate analogue would be Monaco.
While it is technically true that there are some international relations of the Vatican City State around issues such as postage, there are very few such relations notable enough to be mentioned in an encyclopedia article unless it is a very specialized one.
What's important about the Vatican, the Roman Curia, the Holy See is that these are all related to the role of the Pope as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. To understand this, compare the "History" section of the Vatican City article vs. the article History of the Catholic Church.
So, while you are technically correct in attempting to draw a distinction between the "Holy See" and the "Vatican City State", the distinction does not result in a worthwhile difference when it comes to articles relative to articles about relations between the "Holy See" and other countries.
Any attempt to differentiate the country from its government (e.g. "the People's Republic of China" from "The Government of the People's Republic of China" or "Italy" from "the government of Italy") is meaningless in the specific context of this discussion. Yes, one can come up with situations where it might be useful to draw such a distinction but I don't think this discussion is one of them.
--Richard S (talk) 15:34, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the Holy See is unique. It was never a theocracy but still enjoyed brief preeminence in the West. I can't think of another institution where this happened. United Nations, maybe? Even though the UN is in NYC we don't refer to it by city/location. Student7 (talk) 17:37, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
The Holy See is indeed a unique situation in international relations. Another unique situation is the Court of St. James's, to which are accredited the ambassadors sent by other nations to the United Kingdom. Eagle4000 (talk) 18:27, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Foreign relations[edit]

Holy See says (emphasis added): "The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with states and participates in international organizations" but Politics_of_Vatican_City#International_organization_participation gives two separate lists of international organizations of which the Holy See and the Vatican City are members. Apokrif (talk) 16:09, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Vatican City State is a member of some few technical international governmental organizations. It doesn't have diplomatic relations with any entity. There is no international governmental organization of which both the Holy See and the Vatican City State are members. Esoglou (talk) 20:45, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Legal status/statehood[edit]

I think the second section does not cover all the arguments, and is too much pro, leaving out arguments.

In the recent book "The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse", Penguin, October 2010, the human rights lawyer [Robertson] summarizes the legal status of the Vatican statehood and doubts the common arguments and backs it up with the several standard texts on international law. He summarizes the consequences of both statehood and non-statehood for the recent paedophile scandals and its decade-long cover-up, how the Vatican sometimes insists on its statehood, other times does not, just as it fits its purpose.

So I think the article conveys a wrong and impression of the real state and should mirror more critically the debate about the Vatican statehood even among specialists for international law. --Tcheh (talk) 20:51, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

The section reports the fact of recognition of its status in international law. Robertson argues that the fact should be undone. But it has not yet been undone. Esoglou (talk) 21:24, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
"the Vatican sometimes insists on its statehood, other times does not" So? Does a state or country have to insist on its statehood all the time? And what is the relations between a state and criminals? Every country has pedophiles. Would we hold a state responsible for its pedophiles? For example, would someone sue the U.S. because they were raped by a citizen of the U.S.? Robertson can have his opinion. But many countries continue to recognize the Holy See as a state (they host its embassies and ambassadors). Unless, this changes, Robertson's arguments remain just that. – SMasters (talk) 02:02, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
And would someone sue the US because a citizen of another country committed the rape, which is the analogy here?
The pope has a lot more vague control over it's 4000+ bishops than might be imagined. They are still trying to implement the reforms of Vatican II, decided in the early 1960s. And very little direct control over it's 500,000 priests. I doubt that they even know who they are. It's not Microsoft! Student7 (talk) 21:09, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I think you are going slightly off-track here. The answer to your question is no. A person cannot sue a country if one of its citizens committed a rape, nor can they sue a country if a citizen of another country commits a rape. However, if it wasn't a country, but an organization, like the scouts, then yes, they can hold the organization responsible. Which is what Robertson is trying to argue. However, as long as countries do recognize the Holy See as a legal state, suing it is not possible. Just because one person puts forth an argument (which many others refuse to buy, I might add), does not mean that we have to change the whole legal status/statehood (as suggested by Tcheh) or even remove it (as suggested by Esoglou). Tcheh's argument that "the article conveys a wrong and impression of the real state" because of the argument of one person is incorrect IMHO. – SMasters (talk) 23:50, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I was under the impression that, if the person in question was, say, an employee of the US embassy in that other country, or an employee of some other arm of the US government *and* the crime was committed during, or in association with, the performance of their duties under such employment *then* it was plausible that such a case could be made. I also think your analogy here is a bad one. Take another, IMO, closer analogy: could a state or local government be held responsible for the crimes of paeophile teachers or care workers? What if the state not only failed to report such cases that came to its attention but actively protected their employees from prosecution by withholding documents, continually moving the employees to different locations, and by applying only its own internal disciplinary procedures in cases that were clearly in the realm of criminal law? Suppose it then, over decades, failed to make even modest changes to prevent such cases occurring in future? Surely this would be grounds (in the US, anyway) for a class action? I think Robertson makes this point too. I *don't* think Robertson claims that the Holy See has to NOT be a state for such as case to be brought. Rather that, if it is a state, a case can be brought in one way (under international human rights law). But if it isn't it can be brought another (as against any other large organization). His claim, if I remember the book right, is that the Vatican/Holy See is essential hiding in the gap between these two possibilities.81.156.124.249 (talk) 17:52, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Re 'So? Does a state or country have to insist on its statehood all the time?'. I don't think that is the point. Irrespective of what the entity in question 'insists' a given entity surely has to either be a state all of the time, or not at all? (Granting that historically states are created and cease to exist.) The entity in question can't pick and choose when to be a state, just as other states can't pick an choose when to treat it as one. There is a mirror here of how Israel treats Palestine, claiming it is a state sometimes (when claiming to be at war with it) and not at others (when blocking vessels from its waters; detaining people who enter 'Israel', i.e. Gaza, 'illegally'). Robertson's other important point is that the 1933 Montevideo Convention provides an objective, legal definition of a state; one that can be applied in a court of law. This is something that established convention - apparently the real reason the Vatican/Holy See has been granted, and has assumed this status - can't do. (Otherwise, one state could pick and choose the 'statehoodness' of other states to match current political expedience. Neither the Vatican nor the Holy See meets mosts of the Montevideo criteria. So, although in international practice the Vatican/Holy See is de facto recognized as a state, this does not mean it would automatically be in a court of law (especially in the context of cases brought which hinge on its statehood or lack thereof).81.156.124.249 (talk) 17:53, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Talk: List of sovereign states[edit]

A discussion is ongoing at Talk:List of sovereign states under the Bundling of "UN observer states" and "member states of UN Specialized Agencies" subhead about things like:

  • Should Kosovo and Holy See really be bundled together?
  • Should permanent observers (i.e. Holy See) have its own category?
  • Should the list be amended so it does not incorrectly say that the Vatican City is a UN observer....its not, the Holy See is.
  • if Kosovo is listed with the Holy See, must Niue and Cook Islands also be so listed.

Not many editors are involved and there is a desire to broaden the participation. Hope some of you wish to contribute. Just click there and give your views. Thanks. NelsonSudan (talk) 18:00, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Extent of Authority?[edit]

"Under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, the Holy See has extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five Italian sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo. The same authority is extended under international law over the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in a foreign country."

Just a point of clarification. How can the Lateran Treaty (an accord between Italy and the Vatican) create a recognition of the Holy See's authority over the Apostolic Nunicature in other states? Or is this saying that some other international treaty grants this right to the Holy See? If so, what treaty or other instrument enshrines this right? Or is this, in fact, a self-declared right, or just a matter of established practice? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.156.124.249 (talk) 17:24, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Suggested Move[edit]

I suggest to move the page to Holy See (Vatican) or something like that and create a disambiguation page here, because of the upcomming film “The Holy See” by Godfrey Reggio. Release date is scheduled for spring 2012, and there are two trailers online. See here: http://blog.documentarychannel.com/post/11672433941/trailers-godfrey-reggios-the-holy-see

--helohe (talk) 21:02, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

I counterpropose that the the article for the movie be named The Holy See (movie) and that this article retain its current name. A quick Google search reveals that almost all references to Holy See refer to ... well, the Holy See. If the movie ever starts to rival the (real) Holy See in popularity then we can consider a disambiguation page. For now it remains to be seen if the movie amounts to anything at all. Majoreditor (talk) 21:13, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Majoreditor. As an example, just because we have a movie called Australia does not mean we rename the country's article to "Australia (country)". --SMasters (talk) 23:51, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
No, moving this page is a really bad idea. For starters, as WP is NOT a crystal ball, we shouldn't be writing pages about films before they're even made. And if the film is made, an article on it would have to satisfy notability. And if it does that, you would then have to make a case that this Holy See is no longer the primary topic for this title. Until then, any film article would have to conform to WP:DISAMBIGUATION by being titled (as Majoreditor said) "Holy See (film)" or somesuch. Moonraker12 (talk) 18:42, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
PS You've been here long enough to know that, Helohe; are you just trailling a coat, here? Moonraker12 (talk) 18:45, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Disambiguation[edit]

In the Holy_See#Status_in_international_law section, it is maintained that the Holy See has diplomatic relations with 178 sovereign states, while the Holy_See#Diplomacy section asserts that it has diplomatic relations with 179. The information given in the English Vatican/ Holy See website dissents and agrees with both those assertions. This page states that the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 176 sovereign states excluding the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and has special relations with the Russian Federation. This sums to 178. On an alternate page it lists only 176 nations. According to the source given in the article (from the same website) there are 179 states with which the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations.

I have noticed that the first two resources stated above were both last updated on 31st May 2007 while the third one, from the article, doesn't indicate when it was last updated. Interestingly, while the third source includes Malaysia and Botswana the second one omits them. The second source, I presume, is continued on the first external source I gave, so both include the Russian Federation and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta making their sum 178 for the second and 179 for the third source. I am inclined towards the third because of this resource ,which verifies the third source, but cannot ascertain this since it asserts that there are 177 states which have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

As the Vatican website is supposed to serve as the primary source of verifiable information regarding the Holy See, this ambiguity presents a problem in giving definite encyclopaedic information. There may be other sources that give either consenting or dissenting figures but that information may be subject to bias and would thus be inaccurate.Thuralt (talk) 10:35, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

What you call "the first two resources" are Wikipedia articles and therefore are not reliable sources, as defined by Wikipedia. They should be corrected in line with sources that are reliable. Other sources that you have cited, reliable ones, give correct information about the situation on the dates to which they refer. The most recent reliable source that you mentioned is updated to 27 July last and, since there has been no change since then, it is still exact for today: diplomatic relations with 179 states plus diplomatic relations with two entities that are not states (European Union and Sovereign Military Order of Malta) plus special relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (which is not a state). Esoglou (talk) 20:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I was actually referencing the first two external sources I had given and I'll presume you meant 27 July last year since you've omitted whatever it is you wanted to say, which is quite reliable, but all that is rendered moot since, it seems, we both agree on a figure of 179 sovereign states.Thuralt (talk) 03:58, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

British and US authority in lede[edit]

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office speaks of Vatican City as the "capital" of the Holy See, although it compares the legal personality of the Holy See to that of the Crown in Christian monarchies and declares that the Holy See and the state of Vatican City are two international identities. It also distinguishes between the employees of the Holy See (2,750 working in the Roman Curia with another 333 working in the Holy See's diplomatic missions abroad) and the 1,909 employees of the state.[4] The British Ambassador to the Holy See uses more precise language, saying that the Holy See "is not the same as the Vatican City State. … (It) is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from the Vatican City State."[5] This agrees exactly with the expression used by the website of the United States Department of State, in giving information on both the Holy See and the Vatican City State: it too says that the Holy See "operates from the Vatican City State".

Comment: Surely we should be telling our readers what the Catholic Church or the Vatican City State have to say about these matters, not what some foreign powers have to say about them. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 07:48, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
It's too much detail for the the lead, so I have moved it to the Diplomacy section. It may be best to remove it from this article althogether, since there's a daughter article on the Holy See's diplomacy. Majoreditor (talk) 20:36, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

British English?[edit]

I think we have been generally using British English in European articles, by convention. I put it above, not realizing that it might be contentious. In the meantime someone changed "organisation" back to "organization." We need to agree on this. American English is usually used in Western Hemisphere affairs (except for Canada and English influence areas like Bermuda, etc. Japan, Philippines, that sort of thing. Student7 (talk) 02:51, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia policy on this suggests that we should use American English. Please see MOS:RETAIN in the Manual of Style. You'll notice that this article was orinially written in American English, and that the first non-stubby version of it was in American English. The article has continued, with the exception of a couple of stray words, to retain American English spelling.
There are plenty of "European" articles which do not use British spelling. Per WP:TIES, subjects which have a strong tie to the United Kingdom should certainly use British spelling (example: Winston Churchill.) The Holy See does not meet this criterion. While it's located closer to Britain than to the U.S., one could argue that the U.S. is more closely related to the Holy See than is Britain by virtue of its significantly larger catholic population. I would suggest that neither continent nor population meet the WP:TIES criteria and that MOS:RETAIN dictates American English. Cheers, Majoreditor (talk) 03:42, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Hong Kong[edit]

Please take a look at File:Vatican relations.svg( it's is used in this article )Does Hong Kong have any relation to the Holy See? I'm raising this question because the said picture doesn't show that there's one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Knight of Gloucestershire (talkcontribs) 08:36, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Not a Diocese[edit]

Can anyone please enlighten me why the Holy See is not considered as a diocese? I never seen a topic here regarding its diocesan structure but purely foreign relations and dicasteries. I thought it is a particular church headed by a bishop, but when I read this article, I was wrong about it. There is a certain Diocese of Rome very different from the Holy See. Two different organizations headed by the same person, weird. --112.206.34.55 (talk) 18:01, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

It is a diocese, an episcopal see. Why does Wikipedia have two articles, one headed "Holy See", the other headed "Diocese of Rome"? The article "Diocese of Rome" considers that episcopal see under the aspect of its internal activity, the article "Holy See" considers the same episcopal see under the aspect of its relationship with other episcopal sees, with Catholics everywhere, and, in view of its central position within the Catholic Church, with non-Catholic entities. Perhaps Wikipedia editors felt that, if the aspect of its internal activity were not given an article on its own, it would seem crowded out in the supposed single article by all the information about the other aspect, which is what most people outside of Rome itself are almost exclusively interested in, and would in fact risk being deleted.
In short, there is not a certain Diocese of Rome very different from the Holy See. There are not two different organizations headed by the same person. Whether having two articles with their present names is weird in Wikipedia is a matter that concerns Wikipedia, not the Holy See of Rome. Does this matter need to be discussed? Esoglou (talk) 19:31, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Then why Anakin Skywalker was merged with Darth Vader? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 112.206.31.89 (talk) 16:55, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

How about this? The Diocese of Rome can readily be understood. No argument there.
The Holy See is (maybe) like a super-Metropolitan. That is, the Holy See has the whole world as its metropolis, whereas (for example) Boston has only the New England States. Boston itself being an archdiocese of the local Boston area and the metropolis of New England with Boston as its hub. Does this makes sense? If so, they are not duplicate terms. Student7 (talk) 19:17, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Wrong. The Holy See/Diocese of Rome has the Roman Province as its metropolis. Again, why Anakin Skywalker was merged with Darth Vader? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 112.206.45.78 (talk) 17:10, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

It's the other way round. The ecclesiastical province of Rome has the diocese of Rome as its metropolis. The diocese of Rome is the metropolis for the dioceses of the province and, as has been said above, a kind of super-metropolis for all the dioceses of the Catholic Church. Esoglou (talk) 19:37, 30 January 2014 (UTC)