The Holy See
The the Holy See is the incarnation of the spiritual power of the Roman Catholic church, i.e. Pape, and of his administration, the Roman Curie. The State of the Vatican City constitutes its temporal support.
The temporal power and territorial of the pope goes back to the donation made by the emperor Constantin of the palate of the Lateran - donation which should not be confused with the “Donation of Constantin”, document apocryphal book applicant to base the sovereignty of the pope on Rome and the Occident.
It is Pépin the Brief which, beating the Lombards into 754-756, conquers for the pope Etienne II the Patrimoine of saint Pierre, ancestor of the Papal States (cf Donation of Pip). France obtains on this occasion the title of “Oldest daughter of the Church”
The most former French diplomatic representation goes back to 1465: it is the embassy of France close the Holy See.
At the time of the constitution of the Italian unit, the Papal States will be disputed and will end up being de facto removed. It is the beginning of the “Roman Question”: the capital of the Kingdom of Italy was taken by the war on a Sovereign state, that of the Pope, who is considered as prisoner and does not leave any more of the walls the Vatican City.
After their loss in 1870, the Holy See is without territorial base and thus without different legitimacy, on the matter, that its role of incarnation of the Catholic church. However, its relations with the other countries continue. Thus, 16 countries have diplomatic relations with him at the time of the Loi of the Guarantees of 1871. At the time of the signature of the agreements of Lateran, they are 27. Many States send extraordinary missions at the Holy See: the emperor of Korea in 1904, the négus of Ethiopia in 1907 and 1908 or the emperor of China in 1910.
In fact the Accords of Lateran put an end to the Roman Question, by recognizing the sovereignty (uninterrupted) of the Holy See and while creating, like territorial support, the State of the Vatican City.
The Holy See, i.e. the institution of the Roman Episcopal see of Pierre, is prone of international law at least since the Carolingian time. From this time goes back effective and sovereign control to a territory, the “Inheritance of Pierre”, ancestor of the “States of the Church” or “Papal States”.
To be regarded as a Sovereign state, a government must legitimately have and control a territory. That was the case in an uninterrupted way, except between 1791 and 1814 and except 1871 and 1929 (to a certain extent: the only actually controlled territory was that of the Vatican City and of the States their diplomatic relations had not stopped).
The Agreements of Lateran (1929), which reflects fine with the “Roman Question”, stipulate (Article II): “Italy recognizes the sovereignty of the Holy See in the international field like field inherent in its nature, in accordance with its tradition and with the requirements of its mission in the world. ”
According to the Cardinal expression of Mgr, the Holy See “exists and operates within the international community like the legal personification of the Église. ” It is with him and not the State of the the Vatican that the States maintain the diplomatic bonds. It is him which sits within certain international organizations, like the International Atomic Energy Agency or the Universal postal union. Thus, the Ambassadeur S foreigners are accredited close the Holy See and not near the the Vatican.
The Holy See has with the United Nations (UNO) the statute of “State non-member”, observer permanent; it represents there the interests of the pontifical State of the the Vatican. In 2005, the observer of the Holy See is Mgr Celestino Migliore.
This statute was obtained thanks to the statute of member of the Universal postal union and the International union of telecommunications held by the the Vatican with the title of the Post office vaticane and of Radio Vatican. UNO having invited the Member States of these organizations to take part in some of its sessions, the the Vatican is also invited there.
In 1957, in order to clarify the situation, the General secretary of UNO, U Thant, and the Holy See agree on the fact that it is the Holy See, and not the State of the the Vatican, which maintains the relations with the organization. In 1964, the station of permanent observer is recognized in the Holy See.
This presence of the Holy See like State, and not like ONG (such as for example the Order of Malta) been the subject of a polemic in certain mediums. However, one must note that the number of States having tied diplomatic relations with the Holy See forever ceased increasing.
See the article Diplomacy of the Holy See
Other placesToday a the Holy See exists only in Mainz Oldest daughter of the Roman Church .
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