SECRET ACCESS: THE VATICAN

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Vatican is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. It is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state ruled by the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the Popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.


Photo courtesy of David Iliff.

The Vatican (or Vatican City) is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. The independent city-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (from the 8th century until 1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy. According to the terms of the treaty, the Holy See has “full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction” over the city-state.









Within The Vatican are cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of The Vatican is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.



Now get a glimpse of what’s happening behind the closed doors of The Vatican. Watch this.

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