Research Papers, Students

Vatican Diplomacy: Political or Religious


This paper examines the nature of Vatican diplomacy and the problematic issue of distinguishing between the features and the sovereignty of the Vatican State and the Holy See, as well as focusing on state claims. Both the Vatican and the Holy See possesses immunities and powers under-recognized International laws. Their role in the framework of international law is differentiated by distinguishing between the activities of each one of them.

The Vatican has roots in history, but it did not become in its independent form recognized today until June 7, 1929. The Papacy was not in agreement with the Italian government in 1870, as the Italian government was in a quest to unify the Italian States by Victor Emmanuel, the government annexed the Papal lands In Italy, the last of which was Rome in 1870, Emmanuel deprived the Pope of his position as an earthly ruler, but in practice, he did not interfere in his religious status.

The international trend at that time emphasized that the persona of the Pope is sacred, the Holy See is immune to Royal rule, and that the Pope has the right to establish relations with the outside through political representatives who represent him. That universal rank and compulsory attachment to Italy made the relationship between the Papacy and Italy pretty complicated, which was more like a state within a state, especially after the Papacy grew internationally during the First World War.

The Vatican was a state and a figure of public international law figures even before 1870, but after its occupation by Italy, it lost that position, and its relations with Italy and the rest of the European countries turned into a conflict and heightened tension. This prompted Italy to issue the Guarantees Act to rearrange their relations with The Holy See. However, the matter did not succeed and tension continued to exist between the two parties until the Lateran Treaty in 1929, through which Italy recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See in the field of International Relations, in addition to its sovereignty over the Vatican and the right to have diplomatic representation with all countries of the world and with Italy itself.

Views, researches, and studies intersect on the legal status of the Vatican, whether it is a state or a just a figure of International law figures? If it were agreed to be considered as a state, the Vatican does not obtain the main elements and components that characterize the state, such as military, economic, and population. However, given the spiritual sovereignty, it possesses which exceeds its geographical borders to include more than a billion Catholic Christians around the world, in addition to its legal status as an internationally recognized independent state; this clarifies the ability of the Vatican State to influence international relations through diplomacy and the spiritually sacred religious character of the Pope. Vatican diplomacy appears in accepting differences for the sake of a higher goal, which is humanity; to build global peace, preserve human values between different cultures and religions, as a responsibility that falls on everyone, requiring commitment and concerted efforts to achieve what states and people aspire to, and that is stability, peace, and prosperity.