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Holy See

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes, "holy seat") is the title for the office of the Bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope. The Holy See also means the Pope and the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church.

Every episcopal see is seen as holy and the Eastern Orthodox Church calls all of its sees "holy" or "sacred" (ἱερά). "The Holy See" (definite singular) usually refers to the see of Rome, which is also called "the Apostolic See". While "Apostolic See" can refer to any see founded by any of the Apostles, the term is in this case refers to the see of the bishop seen as successor of Saint Peter, one of the Apostles.

Aside from Rome, the archiepiscopal See of Mainz, which was also of electoral and primatial rank, is the only other Western see that bears the title of "Holy See", although this usage is less common.

Organization of the Holy See[change | change source]

The Pope governs the Church through the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia consists of the Secretariat of State, nine Congregations, three Tribunals, eleven Pontifical Councils, and an assortment of offices that conduct church affairs at the highest level. The Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, leads and supervises the Curia. The current Secretariat of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, acts as the Holy See's prime minister. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary of the Section for Relations With States of the Secretariat of State acts as the Holy See's foreign minister. Bertone and Mamberti were chosen to hold these positions by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006.

Among the most active of the major Curial institutions are the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees church doctrine; the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates the appointment of bishops worldwide; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees all missionary activities; and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, manages international peace and social issues.

International organizations[change | change source]

The Holy See is active in international organizations and is a member of the following groups:

  • International Grains Council (IGC)
  • International Committee for Military Medicine (ICMM)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)*
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU), International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • Note: In 1971, the Holy See announced the decision to adhere to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in order to "give its moral support to the principles that form the base of the treaty itself."

The Holy See is also a permanent observer of the following groups:

The Holy See is an observer on an informal basis of the following groups:

The Holy See has a delegation to the Arab League in Cairo. It is also a guest of honor to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with states (such as with the United Kingdom), and participates in international organizations.[1] Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities. When necessary, the Holy See will enter a treaty on behalf of the Vatican City.

Under the Lateran Treaty, the Holy See has extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five Italian sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo.[2] The same authority is granted by international law to the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in a foreign country.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bilateral and Multilateral Relations of the Holy See
  2. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Holy See (Vatican City)". Central Intelligence Agency. 2006-12-19. Archived from the original on 2019-01-07. Retrieved 2007-01-03.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • La Due, William J. The Chair of Saint Peter: A History of the Papacy ISBN 1-57075-249-4

Other websites[change | change source]