Vatican City

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Overview

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.

 
Relations between the US and Vatican City have been difficult at times. President Bill Clinton’s pro-choice policies were not well-received, and President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq also upset the Vatican. Just prior to the 2008 election, a top Vatican official labeled the Democratic Party the “party of death” because of its pro-choice platform, and the Vatican reportedly prayed that god would help enlighten new President Barack Obama, another pro-choice leader. Also, Pope Benedict told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, that Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights.
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Basic Information

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.

 
Population: 824
 
Religions: Roman Catholic 100%
 
Ethnic Groups: Italians, Swiss, others.
 
Languages: Latin (official), Italian.
 

 

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History
The Vatican City State is the survivor of the Papal States that in 1859 comprised an area of some 17,000 square miles. During the struggle for Italian unification, from 1860 to 1870, most of this area became part of Italy. By an Italian law adopted on May 13, 1871, the temporal power of the pope was abrogated, and the territory of the papacy was confined to the Vatican and Lateran palaces and the villa of Castel Gandolfo. The popes consistently refused to recognize this arrangement. The Lateran Treaty of February 11, 1929, between the Vatican and the kingdom of Italy, established the autonomy of the Holy See.
 
The first session of Ecumenical Council Vatican II was opened by John XXIII on October 11, 1962, to plan and set policies for the modernization of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI continued the council, presiding over the last three sessions. Vatican II, as it is called, revolutionized some of the church’s practices. Power was decentralized, giving bishops a larger role, the liturgy was vernacularized, and laymen were given a larger part in church affairs.
 
On August 26, 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani was chosen by the College of Cardinals to succeed Paul VI, who had died of a heart attack on August 6. The new pope took the name John Paul I. Only 34 days after his election, John Paul I died of a heart attack, ending the shortest reign in 373 years. On October 16, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, 58, was chosen and took the name John Paul II, becoming the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century.
 
On May 13, 1981, a Turkish terrorist shot the pope in St. Peter’s Square, the first assassination attempt against the pontiff in modern times. The pope later met and forgave him. On June 3, 1985, the Vatican and Italy ratified a new church-state treaty, known as a concordat, replacing the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The new accord affirmed the independence of Vatican City but ended a number of privileges that the Catholic Church had in Italy, including its status as the state religion.
 
On April 2, 2005, John Paul died, after 26 years as pope (the third-longest reign). A champion of the poor, he was credited by many with hastening the fall of Communism in Poland and other eastern bloc countries. His vitality and charisma energized the world’s one billion Catholics. His rule was characterized by conservatism regarding church doctrine, particularly on issues such as birth control, women’s roles in the church, and homosexuality. The pope also remained circumspect about the US church’s sexual abuse scandals in 2002. John Paul canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people, which was believed to be more than all his predecessors combined.
 
On April 19, German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was named the new pope. Pope Benedict XVI is known as an accomplished scholar of theology and is considered an archconservative in his religious views. He served as Pope John Paul II’s closest associate and is expected to continue the policy of a “strong Rome.” In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI apologized after angering Muslims around the world by quoting medieval passages that referred to Islam as “evil and inhuman.”
 
Vatican City (Wikipedia)

 

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Vatican City's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Vatican City

The United States established diplomatic relations with Vatican City on April 7, 1848 (commissioned to the Papal States).

 
President Franklin Roosevelt appointed the first envoy to the Vatican just before World War II, but when President Harry Truman tried to appoint a successor in 1951, he was met with much protest, and the post remained vacant for 20 years.
 
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan established full diplomatic relations with the Vatican City, prompting complaints from Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists and Protestant organizations. Others suggested that the move violated the separation of church and state. The late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who headed the Moral Majority movement, reacted by asking how long it would be before a similar request came from Mecca, the chief holy city of Islam. Though several lawsuits were filed, all of them were dismissed.
 
President Bill Clinton clashed with the Vatican over international policies on population control and abortion. This breach was never really mended, despite efforts from US Ambassador Raymond Flynn.
 
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Vatican’s support for a US military response in Afghanistan resulted in embassy employees handing out pins with the US and Vatican flags.
 
The two Iraqi Wars, in 1991 and 2003, severely tested relations between the US and the Vatican.
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Current U.S. Relations with Vatican City

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.

 
Relations between Washington and the Vatican City may grow cooler now that Barack Obama is president. Just before the November 2008 election, a Vatican official branded American Democrats the “party of death” because of its pro-choice stand on abortion. Now, the Vatican will have to deal with the first pro-choice US administration since that of former President Bill Clinton, with which it had very difficult relations. Hours after the election of Obama, who has long been a member of a black Christian church, the Vatican said it was hoping God would “enlighten him and help him in his great responsibility.”
 
Between 8 and 14 residents of Vatican City have visited America annually since 2002.
 
Obama may have tricky relations with Vatican (by Philip Pullella, Reuters)
US-Vatican Relations (by Lee Hudson Teslik, Council on Foreign Relations)
Vatican criticism of war plans chills relations with US (by John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter)
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Where Does the Money Flow

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.

 
US imports from Vatican City in decline included toys, shooting and sporting goods, and bicycles, decreasing from $40,000 to $3,000; artwork, antiques, stamps, and other collectibles, falling from $129,000 to $0; computer accessories, moving down from $647,000 to $0; and non-farm tractors and parts, decreasing from $156,000 to $0.
 
In 2008, the US exported more than $9 million to the Vatican City. Top exports from 2004-2008 included trucks, buses and special purpose vehicles, increasing from $0 to $902,000; finished textile supplies, rising from $0 to $302,000; telecommunications equipment, moving up from $59,000 to $401,000; and passenger cars, increasing from $20,000 to $171,000.
 
US exports in decline included excavating machinery, decreasing from $14.9 million to $5 million; logs and lumber, falling from $698,000 to $503,000; fish and shellfish, moving down from $294,000 to $0; and chemicals (other), decreasing from $266,000 to $0.
 
The US does not give security assistance or foreign aid to The Vatican.
 
Vatican runs a deficit despite generosity (by Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press)
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Controversies

Pelosi Raises Controversy with Vatican Over Abortion

In February 2009, Pope Benedict told US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is Catholic, that Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights. Pelosi is pro-choice, and has been accused by American bishops of misrepresenting church teaching on abortion. Pelosi raised controversy with conservative Catholics in August 2008, when she told a talk show that the question of exactly when life begins “shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.” Some conservatives in Italy have called for Catholic politicians who back abortion rights to be excommunicated and barred from receiving communion.
 
Vatican Opposes Fertility Treatments
In December 2008, the Vatican’s highest doctrinal body condemned advanced infertility treatments and contraception technologies and reaffirmed its strong prohibition of embryonic stem cell research; all of which are strongly supported in the United States. Church officials said the document was meant as an update to a 1987 statement under Pope John Paul II. The new document prohibits new forms of birth control, including the “morning after” pill, as well as genetic testing of embryos, stem cell research, and fertility treatments that produce more than one embryo. However, Viagra is allowed, because it assists in the conjugal act, and helps to facilitate reproduction, according to church officials.
Vatican rips some infertility treatments (by Francis X. Rocca, San Diego Union-Tribune)
 
Pope Calls US Cardinals to Discuss Molestation Charges
In April 2002, Pope John Paul II summoned US cardinals to Rome for a meeting at the Vatican to discuss the problem of priests who molest children. One theologian in the United States described the highly unusual call by the pope as a visit to the “woodshed” for the US cardinals. The scandal shook several archdioceses in the United States, especially in Boston. Officials called the meetings unprecedented, and an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the scandal.
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Human Rights

Human Rights Watch

Vatican Official Blasts Human Trafficking (by Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press)
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

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.

 
Lewis Cass, Jr.
Appointment: Jan 5, 1849
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 19, 1849
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Nov 27, 1858
Note: Commissioned to the Pontifical States.
 
John P. Stockton
Appointment: Jun 15, 1858
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 27, 1858
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 23, 1861
Note: Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome.
 
Rufus King 
Appointment: Mar 22, 1861
Note: Declined appointment.
 
Alexander W. Randall
Appointment: Aug 6, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 6, 1862
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Aug 4, 1862
Note: Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome.
 
Richard Milford Blatchford
Appointment: Aug 9, 1862
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 26, 1862
Termination of Mission: Left post shortly before May 20, 1863
Note: Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 19, 1863.
 
Rufus King
Appointment: Oct 7, 1863
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1864
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 17, 1867
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 18, 1864. Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome.
 
David Armstrong
Note: Not commissioned; letter of credence dated Apr 30, 1869, but later canceled.
 
Harold H. Tittmann, Jr.
Appointment: [see note below]
Presentation of Credentials: [Dec 29, 1941]
Termination of Mission: Left Vatican City, Jul 8, 1944
Note: Used the title Chargé d’Affaires to the Holy See. Neither commissioned nor accredited; given the rank of Chargé d’Affaires, Dec 24, 1941, and designated to act as Chargé d’Affaires under the Act of Feb 23, 1931. Received by the Pope in private audience on Dec 29, 1941.
 
Mark W. Clark
Note: Not commissioned; nomination of Oct 20, 1951, not confirmed by the Senate.
 
William A. Wilson
Appointment: Mar 8, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 9, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 18, 1986
 
Note: Diplomatic relations were established with the Holy See Jan 10, 1984. Wilson had previously been appointed Personal Representative of the President Feb 11, 1981. Prior to this date, the following had served in that capacity: Myron C. Taylor (Dec 23, 1939-Jan 18, 1950), Henry Cabot Lodge (Jun 5, 1970-Jul 6, 1977), David Walters (Jul 6, 1977-Aug 14, 1978), and Robert F. Wagner (Nov 28, 1978-Jan 16, 1981). Taylor had been appointed by President Roosevelt and received a second appointment from President Truman on May 3, 1946.
 
Frank Shakespeare
Appointment: Oct 16, 1986
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 28, 1989

Thomas Patrick Melady
Appointment: Aug 3, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 3, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 1, 1993
 
Raymond Leo Flynn 
Appointment: Jul 1, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 2, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 20, 1997
 
Corinne Claiborne (Lindy) Boggs
Appointment: Oct 14, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 16, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Jim Nicholson
Appointment: Aug 3, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 13, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 31, 2005
 
Laurence Francis Rooney
Appointment: Oct 12, 2005
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 12, 2005
Termination of Mission: 2007

Former US Ambassadors to Holy See

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Vatican City's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Vigano, Carlo Maria

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.

 
He officially holds the title of Apostolic Nuncio, an office which has both the secular responsibilities of an ambassador and ecclesiastical duties related to the administration of Catholic Church affairs in the United States, especially relating to the appointment of new bishops. Viganò is the fourteenth papal representative to the United States since the creation the post in 1893, and the fifth to serve as a diplomatic representative since the U.S. and Vatican City established diplomatic relations in 1984.
 
Born January 16, 1941, in Varese, Italy, Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968, and earned a doctorate in canon and civil law. He entered the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1973, and served early overseas assignments in Iraq and Great Britain. From 1978 to 1989, Viganò served at the Vatican Secretariat of State. From April 1989 to April 1992, he was Special Envoy and Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
 
On April 3, 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed Viganò Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana, an ancient Roman city in Kosovo that is now an archaeological site, and Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria. Viganò was consecrated a bishop on April 24 of that year. While he was serving in Nigeria, Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1997.
 
Upon returning from Nigeria in April 1998, Viganò was again assigned to the Secretariat of State, where he served until July 2009. In 1999, he led a five-man Vatican delegation to Iraq to try to make arrangements for a proposed visit by Pope John Paul, who had wanted to go to Ur, the city thought to be the birthplace of Abraham. However, the Western economic embargo of Iraq and the no-fly zone being enforced by the US and British militaries prevented the trip. On July 16, 2009, Viganò became Secretary General of the Vatican Governorate, the Vatican’s second highest administrative position. As Secretary General, at the General Assembly of Interpol in November 2010, Viganò critiqued the modern world economy, saying that “while it is true that globalization offers opportunities for development and enrichment, it is also true that it can cause increased poverty and hunger, which in turn can spark chain reactions often leading to widely disparate forms of violence.”
 
On August 13, 2011, the Vatican Secretary of State informed Viganò that, despite Viganò’s wishes to the contrary, Pope Benedict wished to appoint him Nuncio to Washington, to which Viganò submitted.
 
In addition to his native Italian, Viganò also speaks French, Spanish, and English.
 
Viganò will be Nuncio to the U.S. (by Marco Tosatti, La Stampa)
New Nuncio is No Stranger to Politics (by John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter)

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Vatican City's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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Comments

Dmitriy 4 years ago
The Vatican stirred a dtliomapic maelstrom yesterday when it announced that it had lifted the excommunication of four rebel bishops, including the British Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson.The decree repealing the 20-year-old Vatican punishment, imposed after the traditionalist French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated the four as bishops in defiance of the Pope's authority, was signed on Wednesday by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops. This coincided with the broadcast on Swedish state television of an interview with Mr Williamson in which the breakaway bishop denied the Holocaust."I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," he told SVT television in an interview that was recorded in Germany last November. "There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"Mr Williamson, 68, who is the rector of the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Argentina, is no stranger to controversy. He has endorsed "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, and claimed that Jews are bent on world domination. He supports conspiracy theories on the assassination of President Kennedy and the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, and has accused the Vatican of being under the power of Satan.

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U.S. Ambassador to Vatican City

Hackett, Ken
ambassador-image

The next U.S. ambassador to Vatican City—the theocratic micro-state with a population of 800 and an area of 110 acres—will be a longtime international aid executive whose focus on the poor should fit in well with the announced priorities of newly-installed Pope Francis. Ken Hackett, president of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS), was nominated by President Barack Obama on June 14. If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Miguel Diaz, who served from 2009 to late 2012.

 

Born circa 1947 in West Roxbury, Mass., Hackett earned a B.S. in Business Administration at Boston College in 1968. Although Hackett says his main interests at college were “lacrosse and women,” at the urging of a lacrosse teammate he signed up for the Peace Corps in his senior year, thinking it would be “an interesting thing to do.” Assigned to rural Ghana, he worked in an agricultural cooperative and saw “the actual impact of American food aid on the health and well-being of very poor kids in a very isolated part of a West African country,” which fueled his intent to spend his career on international aid and development work.

 

After finishing with the Peace Corps, Hackett joined CRS in 1972. Commencing his career in Sierra Leone, Hackett managed a nationwide leprosy program and a maternal and child health program. Later postings took him to Africa and Asia, as well as to CRS headquarters in Baltimore. As regional director for Africa, he managed the agency’s response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984-1985, and supervised CRS operations in East Africa during the crisis in Somalia in the 1990s.

 

Hackett was named executive director of CRS in July 1993, and was appointed president in 2003. During his tenure, he started a division focusing on outreach to Catholic dioceses, parishes, organizations, and colleges, and laypeople were first appointed to the CRS board of directors. The organization’s budget—which despite the word “Catholic” comes not from the Church but from governments and private donors—nearly doubled under Hackett, who retired in December 2011.

 

Hackett has served as North America president of Caritas Internationalis, a Catholic Church relief ornaaization, and has served on the boards of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (1996 to 2011); the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration; the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy; and the Africa Society. He is also a member of Legatus, an organization of Catholic business leaders. From 2004 to 2009, Hackett was on the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

 

Hackett lives in Columbia, Maryland. He and his wife, Joan, have two children.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Ken Hackett, Former CRS President, Nominated as U.S. Ambassador to Vatican (Catholic News Service)

Charitable Intent (by Jane Whitehead, Boston College Magazine)

Ken Hackett To Be Nominated As Ambassador To Vatican (by Jaweed Kaleem, Huffington Post)

Obama Taps Former CRS Head as New Vatican Envoy (by John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter)

Catholic Relief Services has Benefited from Hackett’s Hand (by Paul McMullen, Catholic Review)

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Bookmark and Share
News
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Overview

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.

 
Relations between the US and Vatican City have been difficult at times. President Bill Clinton’s pro-choice policies were not well-received, and President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq also upset the Vatican. Just prior to the 2008 election, a top Vatican official labeled the Democratic Party the “party of death” because of its pro-choice platform, and the Vatican reportedly prayed that god would help enlighten new President Barack Obama, another pro-choice leader. Also, Pope Benedict told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, that Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights.
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Basic Information

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.

 
Population: 824
 
Religions: Roman Catholic 100%
 
Ethnic Groups: Italians, Swiss, others.
 
Languages: Latin (official), Italian.
 

 

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History
The Vatican City State is the survivor of the Papal States that in 1859 comprised an area of some 17,000 square miles. During the struggle for Italian unification, from 1860 to 1870, most of this area became part of Italy. By an Italian law adopted on May 13, 1871, the temporal power of the pope was abrogated, and the territory of the papacy was confined to the Vatican and Lateran palaces and the villa of Castel Gandolfo. The popes consistently refused to recognize this arrangement. The Lateran Treaty of February 11, 1929, between the Vatican and the kingdom of Italy, established the autonomy of the Holy See.
 
The first session of Ecumenical Council Vatican II was opened by John XXIII on October 11, 1962, to plan and set policies for the modernization of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI continued the council, presiding over the last three sessions. Vatican II, as it is called, revolutionized some of the church’s practices. Power was decentralized, giving bishops a larger role, the liturgy was vernacularized, and laymen were given a larger part in church affairs.
 
On August 26, 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani was chosen by the College of Cardinals to succeed Paul VI, who had died of a heart attack on August 6. The new pope took the name John Paul I. Only 34 days after his election, John Paul I died of a heart attack, ending the shortest reign in 373 years. On October 16, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, 58, was chosen and took the name John Paul II, becoming the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century.
 
On May 13, 1981, a Turkish terrorist shot the pope in St. Peter’s Square, the first assassination attempt against the pontiff in modern times. The pope later met and forgave him. On June 3, 1985, the Vatican and Italy ratified a new church-state treaty, known as a concordat, replacing the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The new accord affirmed the independence of Vatican City but ended a number of privileges that the Catholic Church had in Italy, including its status as the state religion.
 
On April 2, 2005, John Paul died, after 26 years as pope (the third-longest reign). A champion of the poor, he was credited by many with hastening the fall of Communism in Poland and other eastern bloc countries. His vitality and charisma energized the world’s one billion Catholics. His rule was characterized by conservatism regarding church doctrine, particularly on issues such as birth control, women’s roles in the church, and homosexuality. The pope also remained circumspect about the US church’s sexual abuse scandals in 2002. John Paul canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people, which was believed to be more than all his predecessors combined.
 
On April 19, German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was named the new pope. Pope Benedict XVI is known as an accomplished scholar of theology and is considered an archconservative in his religious views. He served as Pope John Paul II’s closest associate and is expected to continue the policy of a “strong Rome.” In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI apologized after angering Muslims around the world by quoting medieval passages that referred to Islam as “evil and inhuman.”
 
Vatican City (Wikipedia)

 

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Vatican City's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Vatican City

The United States established diplomatic relations with Vatican City on April 7, 1848 (commissioned to the Papal States).

 
President Franklin Roosevelt appointed the first envoy to the Vatican just before World War II, but when President Harry Truman tried to appoint a successor in 1951, he was met with much protest, and the post remained vacant for 20 years.
 
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan established full diplomatic relations with the Vatican City, prompting complaints from Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists and Protestant organizations. Others suggested that the move violated the separation of church and state. The late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who headed the Moral Majority movement, reacted by asking how long it would be before a similar request came from Mecca, the chief holy city of Islam. Though several lawsuits were filed, all of them were dismissed.
 
President Bill Clinton clashed with the Vatican over international policies on population control and abortion. This breach was never really mended, despite efforts from US Ambassador Raymond Flynn.
 
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Vatican’s support for a US military response in Afghanistan resulted in embassy employees handing out pins with the US and Vatican flags.
 
The two Iraqi Wars, in 1991 and 2003, severely tested relations between the US and the Vatican.
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Current U.S. Relations with Vatican City

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.

 
Relations between Washington and the Vatican City may grow cooler now that Barack Obama is president. Just before the November 2008 election, a Vatican official branded American Democrats the “party of death” because of its pro-choice stand on abortion. Now, the Vatican will have to deal with the first pro-choice US administration since that of former President Bill Clinton, with which it had very difficult relations. Hours after the election of Obama, who has long been a member of a black Christian church, the Vatican said it was hoping God would “enlighten him and help him in his great responsibility.”
 
Between 8 and 14 residents of Vatican City have visited America annually since 2002.
 
Obama may have tricky relations with Vatican (by Philip Pullella, Reuters)
US-Vatican Relations (by Lee Hudson Teslik, Council on Foreign Relations)
Vatican criticism of war plans chills relations with US (by John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter)
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Where Does the Money Flow

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.

 
US imports from Vatican City in decline included toys, shooting and sporting goods, and bicycles, decreasing from $40,000 to $3,000; artwork, antiques, stamps, and other collectibles, falling from $129,000 to $0; computer accessories, moving down from $647,000 to $0; and non-farm tractors and parts, decreasing from $156,000 to $0.
 
In 2008, the US exported more than $9 million to the Vatican City. Top exports from 2004-2008 included trucks, buses and special purpose vehicles, increasing from $0 to $902,000; finished textile supplies, rising from $0 to $302,000; telecommunications equipment, moving up from $59,000 to $401,000; and passenger cars, increasing from $20,000 to $171,000.
 
US exports in decline included excavating machinery, decreasing from $14.9 million to $5 million; logs and lumber, falling from $698,000 to $503,000; fish and shellfish, moving down from $294,000 to $0; and chemicals (other), decreasing from $266,000 to $0.
 
The US does not give security assistance or foreign aid to The Vatican.
 
Vatican runs a deficit despite generosity (by Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press)
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Controversies

Pelosi Raises Controversy with Vatican Over Abortion

In February 2009, Pope Benedict told US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is Catholic, that Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights. Pelosi is pro-choice, and has been accused by American bishops of misrepresenting church teaching on abortion. Pelosi raised controversy with conservative Catholics in August 2008, when she told a talk show that the question of exactly when life begins “shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.” Some conservatives in Italy have called for Catholic politicians who back abortion rights to be excommunicated and barred from receiving communion.
 
Vatican Opposes Fertility Treatments
In December 2008, the Vatican’s highest doctrinal body condemned advanced infertility treatments and contraception technologies and reaffirmed its strong prohibition of embryonic stem cell research; all of which are strongly supported in the United States. Church officials said the document was meant as an update to a 1987 statement under Pope John Paul II. The new document prohibits new forms of birth control, including the “morning after” pill, as well as genetic testing of embryos, stem cell research, and fertility treatments that produce more than one embryo. However, Viagra is allowed, because it assists in the conjugal act, and helps to facilitate reproduction, according to church officials.
Vatican rips some infertility treatments (by Francis X. Rocca, San Diego Union-Tribune)
 
Pope Calls US Cardinals to Discuss Molestation Charges
In April 2002, Pope John Paul II summoned US cardinals to Rome for a meeting at the Vatican to discuss the problem of priests who molest children. One theologian in the United States described the highly unusual call by the pope as a visit to the “woodshed” for the US cardinals. The scandal shook several archdioceses in the United States, especially in Boston. Officials called the meetings unprecedented, and an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the scandal.
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Human Rights

Human Rights Watch

Vatican Official Blasts Human Trafficking (by Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press)
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

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.

 
Lewis Cass, Jr.
Appointment: Jan 5, 1849
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 19, 1849
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Nov 27, 1858
Note: Commissioned to the Pontifical States.
 
John P. Stockton
Appointment: Jun 15, 1858
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 27, 1858
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 23, 1861
Note: Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome.
 
Rufus King 
Appointment: Mar 22, 1861
Note: Declined appointment.
 
Alexander W. Randall
Appointment: Aug 6, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 6, 1862
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Aug 4, 1862
Note: Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome.
 
Richard Milford Blatchford
Appointment: Aug 9, 1862
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 26, 1862
Termination of Mission: Left post shortly before May 20, 1863
Note: Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 19, 1863.
 
Rufus King
Appointment: Oct 7, 1863
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1864
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 17, 1867
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 18, 1864. Commissioned as Minister Resident at Rome.
 
David Armstrong
Note: Not commissioned; letter of credence dated Apr 30, 1869, but later canceled.
 
Harold H. Tittmann, Jr.
Appointment: [see note below]
Presentation of Credentials: [Dec 29, 1941]
Termination of Mission: Left Vatican City, Jul 8, 1944
Note: Used the title Chargé d’Affaires to the Holy See. Neither commissioned nor accredited; given the rank of Chargé d’Affaires, Dec 24, 1941, and designated to act as Chargé d’Affaires under the Act of Feb 23, 1931. Received by the Pope in private audience on Dec 29, 1941.
 
Mark W. Clark
Note: Not commissioned; nomination of Oct 20, 1951, not confirmed by the Senate.
 
William A. Wilson
Appointment: Mar 8, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 9, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 18, 1986
 
Note: Diplomatic relations were established with the Holy See Jan 10, 1984. Wilson had previously been appointed Personal Representative of the President Feb 11, 1981. Prior to this date, the following had served in that capacity: Myron C. Taylor (Dec 23, 1939-Jan 18, 1950), Henry Cabot Lodge (Jun 5, 1970-Jul 6, 1977), David Walters (Jul 6, 1977-Aug 14, 1978), and Robert F. Wagner (Nov 28, 1978-Jan 16, 1981). Taylor had been appointed by President Roosevelt and received a second appointment from President Truman on May 3, 1946.
 
Frank Shakespeare
Appointment: Oct 16, 1986
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 28, 1989

Thomas Patrick Melady
Appointment: Aug 3, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 3, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 1, 1993
 
Raymond Leo Flynn 
Appointment: Jul 1, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 2, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 20, 1997
 
Corinne Claiborne (Lindy) Boggs
Appointment: Oct 14, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 16, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Jim Nicholson
Appointment: Aug 3, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 13, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 31, 2005
 
Laurence Francis Rooney
Appointment: Oct 12, 2005
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 12, 2005
Termination of Mission: 2007

Former US Ambassadors to Holy See

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Vatican City's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Vigano, Carlo Maria

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.

 
He officially holds the title of Apostolic Nuncio, an office which has both the secular responsibilities of an ambassador and ecclesiastical duties related to the administration of Catholic Church affairs in the United States, especially relating to the appointment of new bishops. Viganò is the fourteenth papal representative to the United States since the creation the post in 1893, and the fifth to serve as a diplomatic representative since the U.S. and Vatican City established diplomatic relations in 1984.
 
Born January 16, 1941, in Varese, Italy, Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968, and earned a doctorate in canon and civil law. He entered the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1973, and served early overseas assignments in Iraq and Great Britain. From 1978 to 1989, Viganò served at the Vatican Secretariat of State. From April 1989 to April 1992, he was Special Envoy and Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
 
On April 3, 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed Viganò Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana, an ancient Roman city in Kosovo that is now an archaeological site, and Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria. Viganò was consecrated a bishop on April 24 of that year. While he was serving in Nigeria, Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1997.
 
Upon returning from Nigeria in April 1998, Viganò was again assigned to the Secretariat of State, where he served until July 2009. In 1999, he led a five-man Vatican delegation to Iraq to try to make arrangements for a proposed visit by Pope John Paul, who had wanted to go to Ur, the city thought to be the birthplace of Abraham. However, the Western economic embargo of Iraq and the no-fly zone being enforced by the US and British militaries prevented the trip. On July 16, 2009, Viganò became Secretary General of the Vatican Governorate, the Vatican’s second highest administrative position. As Secretary General, at the General Assembly of Interpol in November 2010, Viganò critiqued the modern world economy, saying that “while it is true that globalization offers opportunities for development and enrichment, it is also true that it can cause increased poverty and hunger, which in turn can spark chain reactions often leading to widely disparate forms of violence.”
 
On August 13, 2011, the Vatican Secretary of State informed Viganò that, despite Viganò’s wishes to the contrary, Pope Benedict wished to appoint him Nuncio to Washington, to which Viganò submitted.
 
In addition to his native Italian, Viganò also speaks French, Spanish, and English.
 
Viganò will be Nuncio to the U.S. (by Marco Tosatti, La Stampa)
New Nuncio is No Stranger to Politics (by John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter)

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Vatican City's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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Comments

Dmitriy 4 years ago
The Vatican stirred a dtliomapic maelstrom yesterday when it announced that it had lifted the excommunication of four rebel bishops, including the British Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson.The decree repealing the 20-year-old Vatican punishment, imposed after the traditionalist French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated the four as bishops in defiance of the Pope's authority, was signed on Wednesday by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops. This coincided with the broadcast on Swedish state television of an interview with Mr Williamson in which the breakaway bishop denied the Holocaust."I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," he told SVT television in an interview that was recorded in Germany last November. "There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"Mr Williamson, 68, who is the rector of the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Argentina, is no stranger to controversy. He has endorsed "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, and claimed that Jews are bent on world domination. He supports conspiracy theories on the assassination of President Kennedy and the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, and has accused the Vatican of being under the power of Satan.

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U.S. Ambassador to Vatican City

Hackett, Ken
ambassador-image

The next U.S. ambassador to Vatican City—the theocratic micro-state with a population of 800 and an area of 110 acres—will be a longtime international aid executive whose focus on the poor should fit in well with the announced priorities of newly-installed Pope Francis. Ken Hackett, president of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS), was nominated by President Barack Obama on June 14. If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Miguel Diaz, who served from 2009 to late 2012.

 

Born circa 1947 in West Roxbury, Mass., Hackett earned a B.S. in Business Administration at Boston College in 1968. Although Hackett says his main interests at college were “lacrosse and women,” at the urging of a lacrosse teammate he signed up for the Peace Corps in his senior year, thinking it would be “an interesting thing to do.” Assigned to rural Ghana, he worked in an agricultural cooperative and saw “the actual impact of American food aid on the health and well-being of very poor kids in a very isolated part of a West African country,” which fueled his intent to spend his career on international aid and development work.

 

After finishing with the Peace Corps, Hackett joined CRS in 1972. Commencing his career in Sierra Leone, Hackett managed a nationwide leprosy program and a maternal and child health program. Later postings took him to Africa and Asia, as well as to CRS headquarters in Baltimore. As regional director for Africa, he managed the agency’s response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984-1985, and supervised CRS operations in East Africa during the crisis in Somalia in the 1990s.

 

Hackett was named executive director of CRS in July 1993, and was appointed president in 2003. During his tenure, he started a division focusing on outreach to Catholic dioceses, parishes, organizations, and colleges, and laypeople were first appointed to the CRS board of directors. The organization’s budget—which despite the word “Catholic” comes not from the Church but from governments and private donors—nearly doubled under Hackett, who retired in December 2011.

 

Hackett has served as North America president of Caritas Internationalis, a Catholic Church relief ornaaization, and has served on the boards of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (1996 to 2011); the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration; the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy; and the Africa Society. He is also a member of Legatus, an organization of Catholic business leaders. From 2004 to 2009, Hackett was on the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

 

Hackett lives in Columbia, Maryland. He and his wife, Joan, have two children.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Ken Hackett, Former CRS President, Nominated as U.S. Ambassador to Vatican (Catholic News Service)

Charitable Intent (by Jane Whitehead, Boston College Magazine)

Ken Hackett To Be Nominated As Ambassador To Vatican (by Jaweed Kaleem, Huffington Post)

Obama Taps Former CRS Head as New Vatican Envoy (by John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter)

Catholic Relief Services has Benefited from Hackett’s Hand (by Paul McMullen, Catholic Review)

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