Vatican City is located within the city of Rome, Italy, but is its own sovereign entity. Consisting of St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, Belvedere Park, the Papal Palace, and the Vatican gardens, the Vatican was established in 1929 as a result of the Lateran Treaty. Its power is separate from that of the Catholic Church, and it issues passports, has its own transportation network and modern telephone system, pharmacy and post office. Vatican City is ruled by the Pope, and all of its state officials are clergymen of the Church. Its legislative functions are handled by the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, which is comprised of seven members nominated by cardinals for a term of five years. The current Pope is Benedict XVI, and Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo serves as president of the Pontifical Commission.
Lay of the Land: The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome and seat of its sovereign, the Pope, Vatican City consists of St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, administrative buildings north of the square, Belvedere Park, the Papal Palace, and the Vatican gardens.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Vatican City on April 7, 1848 (commissioned to the Papal States).
Pope John Paul was strongly against military intervention in both Iraqi Wars. In 2003, he sent a personal envoy, Cardinal Pio Laghi, to try to convince President George W. Bush to avoid attacking Iraq. Cardinal Laghi met with Bush but felt the president had already made up his mind to invade Iraq. The cardinal was strongly critical of the US decision to go to war.
Given the Vatican City’s lack of traditional economy, it is not surprising that very little is traded between it and the United States. In 2008, the US imported only $295,000 in goods and services. Top imports from 2004-2008 included clocks, portable typewriters, and other household goods, increasing from $0 to $55,000; industrial engines, pumps, compressors and generators, moving up from $0 to $17,000; non-textile floor and wall tiles, rising from $0 to $11,000; and computers, increasing from $0 to $10,000.
Pelosi Raises Controversy with Vatican Over Abortion
Jacob L. Martin
Appointment: Apr 7, 1848
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 19, 1848
Termination of Mission: Died at post, Aug 26, 1848
Note: Commissioned to the Papal States.
On October 19, 2011, Carlo Maria Viganò took over as ambassador to the United States from the city-state of Vatican City (Holy See). A Vatican financial reformer who apparently did not want the job, Viganò, who is an archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church, was lobbying for the job of President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, which is the highest legislative and administrative position in Vatican City, and wrote letters to Pope Benedict XVI stating his strong preference for remaining in Italy. According to published reports, his ambition was thwarted by an alliance of doctrinal conservatives and Vatican officials offended by his sometimes aggressive style.
Mary Ann Glendon has served as the US Ambassador to the Holy See since February 14, 2008. A native of Massachusetts, Glendon earned her bachelor’s degree, law degree, and a master’s degree in comparative law at the University of Chicago. Her research focused on European civil law, human rights, legal theory and comparative constitutional law.