|Established|| February 11, 1929|
|Disbanded|| Still Active |
|Last Modified||COSDem February 01, 2005 05:13pm|
State of the Vatican City, the Holy See |
Stato della Citta del Vaticano, Santa Sede
An independent enclave of Rome, the Holy See is an ecclesiastical state governed by the Pontiff as Head of State and the Secretary of State as Head of Government. The Legislature sits as the Cabinet, consisting of the Pontifical Commission appointed by the Pontiff. There are three tribunals responsible for civil and criminal matters within Vatican City. The Holy See is supported financially by a tax on all Roman Catholic dioceses worldwide. Its annual budget falls under $180 Million United States.
As the capital of the Roman Catholic faith, the Holy See has an elaborate Foreign Affairs structure. It is an official observer of the United Nations and has been sough for international relations advice by all member states of the United Nations General Assembly. The Vatican appoints to each country a Papal Nuncio who acts as Ambassador. He is also is given jurisdiction over dioceses within the nation to which he is appointed. The Holy See maintains a single military unit called the Corpo della Guardia Svizzera, known to the world as the Swiss Guards. Supplementary defense is provided by the Italian Defense Ministry.
Historically, the Holy See was part of a larger union of Papal States under the leadership of the Pontiff. The Papal States can be traced back to the 8th Century. On February 11, 1929, the Pontiff signed three treaties with Italy recognizing the full sovereignty of the present-day State of the Vatican City. Outside the state borders, the Holy See maintains 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo, the Papal Summer Residence. These buildings enjoy extraterritorial rights.