Foreign relations of the Holy See

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The Holy See has long been recognised as a subject of international law and as an active participant in international relations. One observer has stated that its interaction with the world has, in the period since World War II, been at its highest level ever. [1] It is distinct from the city-state of the Vatican City, over which the Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction". [2]

Contents

The diplomatic activities of the Holy See are directed by the Secretariat of State (headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State), through the Section for Relations with States.

Whilst not a member of the United Nations in its own right, the Holy See recognizes all UN member states, except for the People's Republic of China (as the Holy See only recognizes the Republic of China) and North Korea (as the Holy See only has relations with South Korea). The Holy See also recognizes the State of Palestine, [3] [4] the only other non-UN member it recognizes besides Taiwan (ROC).

The term "Vatican Diplomatic Corps", by contrast with the diplomatic service of the Holy See, properly refers to all those diplomats accredited to the Holy See, not those who represent its interests to other nations and international bodies. Since 1961, Vatican diplomats also enjoy diplomatic immunity. [5]

History

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet with Pope Francis in 2017. Donald Trump Pope Francis Melania Trump in 2017.jpg
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet with Pope Francis in 2017.

Since medieval times the episcopal see of Rome has been recognized as a sovereign entity. Earlier, there were papal representatives ( apocrisiarii ) to the Emperors of Constantinople, beginning in 453, but they were not thought of as ambassadors. [6] :64 In the eleventh century the sending of papal representatives to princes, on a temporary or permanent mission, became frequent. [6] :65 In the fifteenth century it became customary for states to accredit permanent resident ambassadors to the Pope in Rome. [6] :68 The first permanent papal nunciature was established in 1500 in Venice. Their number grew in the course of the sixteenth century to thirteen, while internuncios (representatives of second rank) were sent to less-powerful states. [6] :70 After enjoying a brilliant period in the first half of the seventeenth century, papal diplomacy declined after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, being assailed especially by royalists and Gallicans, and the number of functioning nuncios was reduced to two in the time of Napoleon, although in the same period, in 1805, Prussia became the first Protestant state to send an ambassador to Rome. There was a revival after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, which, while laying down that, in general, the order of precedence between ambassadors would be determined by the date of their arrival, allowed special precedence to be given to the nuncio, by which he would always be the dean of the diplomatic corps. [7]

In spite of the extinction of the Papal States in 1870, and the consequent loss of territorial sovereignty, and in spite of some uncertainty among jurists as to whether it could continue to act as an independent personality in international matters, the Holy See continued in fact to exercise the right to send and receive diplomatic representatives, maintaining relations with states that included the major powers of Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary. [8] Countries continued to receive nuncios as diplomatic representatives of full rank, and where, in accordance with the decision of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the Nuncio was not only a member of the Diplomatic Corps but its dean, this arrangement continued to be accepted by the other ambassadors. [8]

With the First World War and its aftermath the number of states with diplomatic relations with the Holy See increased. For the first time since relations were broken between the Pope and Queen Elizabeth I of England, a British diplomatic mission to the Holy See was opened in 1914. [9] The result was that, instead of diminishing, the number of diplomats accredited to the Holy See grew from sixteen in 1870 to twenty-seven in 1929, even before it again acquired territorial sovereignty with the founding of the State of Vatican City. [10]

In the same period, the Holy See concluded a total of twenty-nine concordats and other agreements with states, including Austro-Hungary in 1881, Russia in 1882 and 1907, France in 1886 and 1923. [10] Two of these concordats were registered at the League of Nations at the request of the countries involved. [11]

While bereft of territorial sovereignty, the Holy See also accepted requests to act as arbitrator between countries, including a dispute between Germany and Spain over the Caroline Islands. [10]

The Lateran Treaty of 1929 and the founding of the Vatican City State was not followed by any great immediate increase in the number of states with which the Holy See had official relations. This came later, especially after the Second World War.

The Vienna Convention of April 18, 1961 also established diplomatic immunity for the Vatican's foreign diplomats. [5] Such immunity can only be revoked by the Holy See. [5]

Diplomatic relations

List of 184 countries which the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with:

Diplomatic relations of the Holy See.svg
#CountryDate [12]
1Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 12 February 1481 [13]
2Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg   Switzerland 1553 [14]
3Flag of Spain.svg  Spain March 1559 [15]
4Flag of France.svg  France 1600s
5Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 17 July 1829 [16]
6Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 17 July 1834 [17]
7Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands May 1829 [18]
8Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 26 November 1835
9Flag of Monaco.svg  Monaco 21 June 1875 [19]
15Bandera de Bolivia (Estado).svg  Bolivia 6 August 1877 [20]
16Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador 6 August 1877 [21]
10Flag of Peru.svg  Peru 10 October 1877 [22]
11Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 15 December 1877 [23]
12Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 31 December 1877 [24]
13Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay 31 December 1877 [24]
14Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 31 December 1877 [24]
17Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic 1881
18Flag of Haiti.svg  Haiti 1881
19Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela 1881
20Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg January 1891 [25]
21Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica 19 August 1908 [26]
22Flag of Honduras.svg  Honduras 19 December 1908 [27]
Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua (suspended)19 December 1908 [28] [29]
23Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 16 June 1919 [30]
24Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 24 October 1919 [31]
25Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 30 June 1920(Weimar Republic)
1 June 1954(Federal Republic)
26Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 10 August 1920 [32] [33]
27Flag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador 12 October 1922 [34]
28Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 21 September 1923 [35]
29Flag of San Marino.svg  San Marino April 1926
30Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 10 May 1927 [36]
31Flag of Liberia.svg  Liberia 15 December 1927
32Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 24 June 1929
33Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 27 November 1929
Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg  Sovereign Military Order of Malta February 1930
34Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba 2 September 1935
35Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala 16 March 1936
36Flag of Japan.svg  Japan March 1942
37Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 31 July 1942 [37]
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China 23 October 1942
38Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 9 August 1946
39Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon November 1946
40Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 23 August 1947
41Flag of India.svg  India 12 June 1948
42Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 13 March 1950
43Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 8 April 1951
44Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 6 October 1951
45Flag of Syria.svg  Syria 21 February 1953
46Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 2 May 1953
47Flag of Ethiopia.svg  Ethiopia 20 March 1957
48Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 25 January 1960
49Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal 17 November 1961
50Flag of Burundi.svg  Burundi 11 February 1963
51Flag of the Republic of the Congo.svg  Republic of the Congo 16 February 1963
52Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 11 December 1963
53Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda 6 June 1964
54Flag of Zambia.svg  Zambia 15 May 1965
55Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya 19 June 1965
56Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 15 December 1965
57Flag of Malawi.svg  Malawi 5 February 1966
58Flag of Iraq.svg  Iraq 26 August 1966
59Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 27 August 1966
60Flag of Uganda.svg  Uganda 1 September 1966
61Flag of Madagascar.svg  Madagascar 24 December 1966
62Flag of Lesotho.svg  Lesotho 11 March 1967
63Flag of the Central African Republic.svg  Central African Republic 13 May 1967
64Flag of Gabon.svg  Gabon 31 October 1967
65Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 19 April 1968
66Flag of Tanzania.svg  Tanzania 28 April 1968
67Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait 21 October 1968
68Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 16 October 1969
69Flag of Mauritius.svg  Mauritius 9 March 1970
70Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 14 August 1970
71Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast 26 October 1970
72Flag of Benin.svg  Benin 29 June 1971
73Flag of Niger.svg  Niger 20 July 1971
74Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria 6 March 1972
75Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia 22 March 1972
76Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan 29 April 1972
77Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 25 September 1972
78Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus 31 January 1973
79Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 24 March 1973
80Flag of Burkina Faso.svg  Burkina Faso 14 June 1973
81Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 20 June 1973
82Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka 6 September 1975
83Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 20 November 1975
84Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 20 November 1975
85Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 15 January 1976
86Flag of Cape Verde.svg  Cape Verde 12 May 1976
87Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland 12 October 1976 [38]
88Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  Democratic Republic of the Congo 31 January 1977
89Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 7 March 1977
90Flag of The Gambia.svg  Gambia 7 June 1978
91Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg  Trinidad and Tobago 23 July 1978
92Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 12 September 1978
93Flag of Grenada.svg  Grenada 17 February 1979
94Flag of Barbados.svg  Barbados 19 April 1979
95Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 17 July 1979
96Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica 20 July 1979
97Flag of the Bahamas.svg  Bahamas 27 July 1979
98Flag of Mali.svg  Mali 29 October 1979
99Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe 26 June 1980
100Flag of Togo.svg  Togo 21 April 1981
101Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 24 June 1981
102Flag of Dominica.svg  Dominica 1 September 1981
103Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg  Equatorial Guinea 24 December 1981
104Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 16 January 1982
105Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 2 August 1982
106Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 2 August 1982
107Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 2 August 1982
108Flag of Belize.svg  Belize 9 March 1983
109Flag of Nepal.svg    Nepal 10 September 1983
110Flag of the United States.svg  United States 10 January 1984
111Flag of the Solomon Islands.svg  Solomon Islands 9 May 1984
112Flag of Seychelles.svg  Seychelles 27 July 1984
113Flag of Saint Lucia.svg  Saint Lucia 1 September 1984
114Flag of Sao Tome and Principe.svg  São Tomé and Príncipe 21 December 1984
115Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein 28 August 1985
116Flag of Guinea.svg  Guinea 21 June 1986
117Flag of Guinea-Bissau.svg  Guinea-Bissau 12 July 1986
118Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.svg  Antigua and Barbuda 15 December 1986
119Flag of Chad.svg  Chad 28 November 1988
120Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.svg  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 16 April 1990
121Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 6 December 1990
122Flag of Albania.svg  Albania 7 September 1991
123Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania 30 September 1991
124Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 1 October 1991
125Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 3 October 1991
126Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 8 February 1992
127Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 8 February 1992
128Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 8 February 1992
129Flag of Eswatini.svg  Eswatini 11 March 1992
130Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia 4 April 1992
131Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 23 May 1992
132Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 23 May 1992
133Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia 23 May 1992
134Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 23 May 1992
135Flag of Nauru.svg  Nauru 1 June 1992
136Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 18 August 1992
137Flag of Kyrgyzstan (2023).svg  Kyrgyzstan 27 August 1992
138Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 21 September 1992
139Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 17 October 1992
140Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan 17 October 1992
141Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 11 November 1992
142Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 1 January 1993
143Flag of the Marshall Islands.svg  Marshall Islands 30 December 1993
144Flag of Suriname.svg  Suriname 16 January 1994
145Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia.svg  Federated States of Micronesia 26 January 1994
146Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan 3 March 1994
147Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 5 March 1994
148Flag of Cambodia.svg  Cambodia 25 March 1994
149Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 10 June 1994
150Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 15 June 1994
151Flag of Vanuatu.svg  Vanuatu 20 July 1994
152Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 24 August 1994
153Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia 21 December 1994
154Flag of Kiribati.svg  Kiribati 10 April 1995
155Flag of Andorra.svg  Andorra 16 June 1995
156Flag of Eritrea.svg  Eritrea 15 July 1995
157Flag of Namibia.svg  Namibia 12 September 1995
158Flag of Mozambique.svg  Mozambique 14 December 1995
159Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan 10 June 1996
160Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan 15 June 1996
161Flag of Sierra Leone.svg  Sierra Leone 30 July 1996
162Flag of Libya.svg  Libya 10 March 1997
163Flag of Guyana.svg  Guyana 9 June 1997
164Flag of Angola.svg  Angola 8 July 1997
165Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen 13 October 1998
166Flag of Palau.svg  Palau 17 December 1998
Flag of the Cook Islands.svg  Cook Islands 29 April 1999
167Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg  Saint Kitts and Nevis 19 July 1999
168Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain 12 January 2000
170Flag of Djibouti.svg  Djibouti 20 May 2000
171Flag of East Timor.svg  East Timor 20 May 2002
172Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar 18 November 2002
173Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro 16 December 2006
174Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 30 May 2007 [39]
175Flag of Botswana.svg  Botswana 4 November 2008
176Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 9 December 2009
177Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 27 July 2011
178Flag of South Sudan.svg  South Sudan 22 February 2013
Flag of Palestine.svg  State of Palestine 13 May 2015 [40]
179Flag of Mauritania.svg  Mauritania 9 December 2016 [41]
180Flag of Myanmar.svg  Myanmar 4 May 2017
181Flag of Oman.svg  Oman 23 February 2023 [39]

Bilateral relations

The Holy See, as a non-state sovereign entity and full subject of international law, started establishing diplomatic relations with sovereign states in the 15th century. [42] It had the territory of the States of the Church under its direct sovereign rule since centuries before that time. Currently it has the territory of the State of the Vatican City under its direct sovereign rule. In the period of 1870–1929 between the annexation of Rome by the Kingdom of Italy and the ratification of the Lateran Treaty establishing the current Vatican City State, the Holy See was devoid of territory. In this period some states suspended their diplomatic relations, but others retained them (or established such relations for the first time or reestablished them after a break), so that the number of states that did have diplomatic relations with the Holy See almost doubled (from 16 to 27) in the period between 1870 and 1929. [10]

The Holy See currently has diplomatic relations with 184 sovereign states [43] (including the partially internationally recognized Republic of China) and, in addition, with the sovereign entity Order of Malta and the supranational union European Union. [44] The Holy See also has established official diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine. [42]

By agreement with the government of Vietnam, it has a non-resident papal representative to that country. [45] It has official formal contacts, without establishing diplomatic relations, with: Afghanistan, Brunei, Somalia and Saudi Arabia. [46]

The Holy See additionally maintains some apostolic delegates to local Catholic Church communities which are not accredited to the governments of the respective states and work only in an unofficial, non-diplomatic capacity. [47] The regions and states where such non-diplomatic delegates operate are: Brunei, Comoros, Laos, Maldives, Somalia, Vietnam, Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories (Palestine), Pacific Ocean (Tuvalu, dependent territories [48] ), Arabian Peninsula (foreigners in Saudi Arabia), Antilles (dependent territories [49] ), apostolic delegate to Kosovo [50] (Republic of Kosovo) and the apostolic prefecture of Western Sahara (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic).

The Holy See has no relations of any kind with the following states:

91 embassies to the Holy See are based in Rome. [43]

The Holy See is the only European subject of international law to have diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan), although there have been reports of informal talks between the Holy See and the government of the People's Republic of China on establishing diplomatic relations, restoring the situation that existed when the papal representative, Antonio Riberi, was part of the diplomatic corps that accepted the Communist government military victory instead of withdrawing with the Nationalist authorities to Taiwan. He was later expelled, after which the Holy See sent its representative to Taipei instead.

During the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI relations were established with Montenegro (2006), the United Arab Emirates (2007), Botswana (2008), Russia (2009), Malaysia (2011), and South Sudan (2013), [51] and during the pontificate of Pope Francis, diplomatic relations were established with the State of Palestine (2015), [52] Mauritania (2016), [53] Myanmar (2017), [54] and Oman (2023). [55] "Relations of a special nature" had previously been in place with Russia. [56]

Africa

CountryFormal relations begun or resumedNotes
Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria 1972See Algeria–Holy See relations.
  • During the Algerian War of 1954–1962 the Holy See did not take sides [57] nor, in view of its pledge not to take part in temporal rivalries unless there was a mutual appeal to it, [58] was there Vatican mediation between the French government and the Algerian rebels who requested it. [59]
  • After Algeria became independent, Algeria maintained diplomatic ties with the Holy See and allowed Roman Catholic priests to continue ministering to the remaining Catholics in Algeria. [60]
Flag of the Central African Republic.svg  Central African Republic 1967See Central African Republic–Holy See relations.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Bangui.
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  Democratic Republic of the Congo 1977See Democratic Republic of the Congo–Holy See relations.
  • The Holy See has an apostolic nunciature in Kinshasa.
  • The DRC maintains an embassy near Vatican City.
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 1947See Apostolic Nunciature to Egypt.

Pope Francis met Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyeb in several occasions to improve relations among different faiths. [61]

Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast 1970See Holy See-Ivory Coast relations.
  • The Holy See has an apostolic nunciature in Abidjan.
  • Ivory Coast maintains an embassy in Rome for the Holy See.
Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya 1959
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is represented in the Holy See through its embassy in Paris, France. [62]
  • Pope John Paul II visited Kenya thrice during his tenure, in 1980, 1985 and 1995. Pope Francis visited Kenya in November 2015. [63]
Flag of Madagascar.svg  Madagascar 1960
Flag of the Republic of the Congo.svg  Republic of the Congo 1963See Republic of the Congo–Holy See relations.
  • The Holy See maintains an apostolic nunciature in Brazzaville.
Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda 1964
  • The Holy See has an nunciature in Kigali. [65]
  • Rwanda has an embassy to the Holy See.
  • Relations between the two States have been strained since the Rwanda genocide. Many bishops were under the ideological influence of the previous Hutu nationalist government, and the government of Paul Kagame has tried to purge the episcopacy of hostile elements.
  • Priests that participated in the killings behaved in a way no different from the majority of the population, a phenomenon which has led to a grave collective and spiritual guilt, and has led to the growth of Evangelical churches and Islamic organizations. In part, this has been attributed to an ethnic-based liberation theology, which was denounced by the Holy See in the 1970s and 1980s.
Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan 1969
Flag of Mozambique.svg  Mozambique 1977

Americas

CountryFormal relations begun or resumedNotes
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1940See Argentina–Holy See relations.
Flag of Belize.svg  Belize 1983

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 March 1983. [69]

Bandera de Bolivia (Estado).svg  Bolivia 1877Bolivian President Evo Morales met with Pope Francis in 2015, [70] and 2016. [71]
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 1829See Brazil–Holy See relations
  • Brazil has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
  • Holy See has a nunciature in Brasília.
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 1969See Canada–Holy See relations.

Although the Roman Catholic Church has been territorially established in what later became the independent state of Canada since the founding of New France in the early 17th century, Holy See–Canada relations were only officially established under the papacy of Paul VI in 1969.

Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 1877
  • Chile has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
  • Holy See has a nunciature in Santiago.
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 1835
  • Colombia has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
  • Holy See has a nunciature in Bogota.
Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba 1935See Cuba–Holy See relations
  • Cuba has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Havana.
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic 1881See Apostolic Nunciature to the Dominican Republic.
Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador 1877See Apostolic Nunciature to Ecuador.
Flag of Haiti.svg  Haiti 1881See Apostolic Nunciature to Haiti.
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 1992See Holy See–Mexico relations.
  • After Holy See-Mexico diplomatic relations were broken off in 1861, [72] the Holy See assigned an Apostolic Delegate as resident representative in Mexico in 1904. [73] In 1992, after more than 130 years, the Mexican Government reestablished diplomatic relations with the Holy See and restored civil rights to the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico. [73] [74]
  • Holy See has an Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico City. [75]
  • Mexico has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See. [76]
Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua 1862See Holy See–Nicaragua relations.
Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay 1877See Apostolic Nunciature to Paraguay.
Flag of Peru.svg  Peru 1877See Holy See–Peru relations
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Lima.
  • Peru has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1984See Holy See–United States relations.
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 1877See Holy See–Uruguay relations
  • The Holy See has a nunciatue in Montevideo.
  • Uruguay has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela 1869See Holy See–Venezuela relations.

Diplomatic relations were established in 1869. The Holy See has a nunciature in Caracas. Venezuela has an embassy in Rome.

Asia

CountryFormal relations begun or resumedNotes
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 1992
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 1992
  • Diplomatic relations with the Holy See were established on May 23, 1992. [77]
  • Azerbaijan is accredited to the Holy See through its embassy in Paris, France. [77]
  • The Holy See is accredited to Azerbaijan through its nunciature in Ankara, Turkey. [77]
Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 1972See Bangladesh–Holy See relations.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in the Baridhara Diplomatic Enclave in Dhaka. [78]
  • Bangladesh also has an ambassador accredited to the Holy See.
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China (Taiwan) 1942See Holy See–Taiwan relations.
  • Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China began in 1942, at that time the representative of China was the Republic of China (ROC). When the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War and established the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Holy See chose not to move its diplomatic representative to Taipei, where the government of the Republic of China had retreated to. However, the Communist government expelled it, and the Holy See's diplomatic mission was then transferred to Taipei in 1951.
  • In 1971, when the seat of China at the United Nations was adjudicated to the government of the PRC, the Holy See chose to continue to recognize the ROC as the sole representative of China.
  • Since 1971, the Holy See maintains a downgraded Apostolic Nunciature in Taipei, but without a Nuncio. The mission is headed only by a chargé d'affaires who carries on the business of the diplomatic mission.
  • The ROC, now commonly known as Taiwan, has an embassy to the Holy See in Rome.
  • The Holy See is currently the only sovereign entity in Europe that recognizes the ROC as the sole representative of China. [79] For its contacts with the PRC, see China–Holy See relations.
Flag of India.svg  India 1948See Holy See–India relations.
Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 1947
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 1954See Holy See–Iran relations.

The two countries have had formal diplomatic relations since 1954, since the pontificate of Pius XII, and have been maintained during Islamic revolution. [81] In 2008 relations between Iran and the Holy See were "warming", and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "said the Vatican was a positive force for justice and peace" when he met with the Papal nuncio to Iran, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel. [82]

Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 1993See Holy See–Israel relations.

Holy See–Israel relations have officially existed since 1993 with the adoption of the fundamental agreement between the two parties. However, relations remain tense because of the non-fulfillment of the accords giving property rights and tax exemptions to the Church.

Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan 1994See Holy See–Jordan relations.
  • The etymology of Jordan comes from the Jordan River, which is significant to Christians because it was the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Various Christian clerics in the Arab world have a Jordanian background, such as Maroun Lahham in Tunisia and Fouad Twal in Israel/Palestine.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Amman.
  • Jordan has an embassy in Rome.
Flag of Kurdistan.svg  Kurdistan See Holy See–Kurdistan Region relations.
Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait 1969
  • The first Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Vatican was accredited in March 1973. As he presented his credentials to Pope Paul VI, the Pontiff treated the establishing of relations as a sign of growing tolerance within Kuwait. [83]
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Kuwait City. [84]
  • Kuwait has an embassy in Rome.
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon 1947See Holy See–Lebanon relations.
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 2011See Holy See–Malaysia relations.
  • Diplomatic relations were established in 2011 [85]
  • Malaysia is represented at the Holy See through its embassy in Bern (Switzerland). [86]
Flag of Myanmar.svg  Myanmar 2017See Holy See–Myanmar relations.
  • Diplomatic relations were established on 4 May 2017, following a meeting between Pope Francis and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. [87]
  • The Holy See is set to establish a nunciature in Myanmar. [87]
  • Myanmar is set to establish an embassy in the Vatican. [87]
Flag of Nepal.svg    Nepal 1983See Holy See–Nepal relations.
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 1961See Holy See–Pakistan relations.
Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine 1994See Holy See–Palestine relations.

The Holy See and the State of Palestine established formal diplomatic relations in 2015, through the mutual signing of the Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine. [52] An Apostolic Delegation (a non-diplomatic mission of the Holy See) denominated "Jerusalem and Palestine" had existed since 11 February 1948, and the Palestine Liberation Organization had established official (non diplomatic) relations with the Holy See in October 1994, with the opening of an office in Rome. The Holy See, along with many other states, supports a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 1951See Holy See–Philippines relations.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Manila. [89]
  • The Philippines has an embassy in Vatican City. [90]
  • The nuncio is the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in the Philippines.
Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar 2002 [91]
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia See Holy See–Saudi Arabia relations.

No official diplomatic relationship exists. There have been some important high-level meetings between Saudi and Vatican officials in order to discuss issues and organize dialogue between religions.

Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 1966 [92] See Holy See–South Korea relations.
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka 1978see Holy See–Sri Lanka relations.

The Holy See has a nunciature in Colombo. Sri Lanka has an ambassador accredited to the Holy See.

Flag of Syria.svg  Syria 1946
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Damascus. [98]
  • Syria has an embassy in Rome.
  • At present, the Holy See has comparatively good relations with Syria. It has sought to foster ecumenism between rival Christian factions in Antioch and to ensure the survival of age-old Christian communities in the country. The declaration Nostra aetate has made possible inter-faith dialogue and cooperation with Syrian Muslims.
  • Some Vatican leaders have also sought to foster greater political independence for Lebanon, which has been tied to Syria since the end of the Lebanese civil war. This call for Lebanese independence has traditionally been resisted by Syrian leaders.
  • John Paul II visited Syria in 2001 and was the first pope to have been to an Islamic mosque, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, [99] which includes the relics of John the Baptist.
  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended Pope John Paul II's funeral. [100]
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 1957

History

  • 1957: Established as Apostolic Delegation of Thailand and Malay Peninsula
  • 1964: Renamed as Apostolic Delegation of Thailand, Laos and Malay Peninsula
  • 1968.02.23: Renamed as Apostolic Delegation of Thailand (branched to create Apostolic Delegation of Laos, Malaysia and Singapore)
  • 1969.08.28: Promoted as Apostolic Nunciature of Thailand
  • 1983: Branched to create Apostolic Delegation of Malaysia and Brunei
  • 1990: Branched to create Apostolic Delegation of Myanmar
  • 1994.07.16: Branched to create Apostolic Nunciature of Cambodia [103]
  • 2010.07.08: Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Vatican's Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on the occasion of the completion of his mission in Thailand. [104]
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 1868See Holy See–Turkey relations.
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 2007 [106] See Holy See–United Arab Emirates relations.
  • Pope Francis visited the United Arab Emirates in February 2019 and became the first pontiff to ever visit and hold papal mass in the Arabian Peninsula. [107]
  • The Holy See has is accredited to the United Arab Emirates through its nunciature in Kuwait City.
  • United Arab Emirates is accredited to the Holy See through its embassy in Madrid.
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam See Holy See–Vietnam relations.

Diplomatic relations have not been established with Vietnam. An Apostolic Delegation (a papal mission accredited to the Catholic Church in the country but not officially to the Government) still exists on paper and as such is listed in the Annuario Pontificio ; but since the end of the Vietnam War admittance of representatives to staff it has not been permitted. Temporary missions to discuss with the Government matters of common interest are sent every year or two.

Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen 1998See Foreign relations of Yemen.

The Holy See and Yemen established diplomatic relations on 13 October 1998. [108] Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met Pope John Paul II in November 2004. [109]

Europe

CountryFormal relations begun or resumedNotes
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania 1991
  • Albania has a resident embassy to the Holy See in Rome [110]
  • The Holy See has a resident nunciature (embassy) in Tirana [110]
  • Relations were established in 1991, after the fall of communism in Albania[ citation needed ]
  • Pope John Paul II was the first Pope to visit Albania, which took place immediately after the fall of communism [111]
  • Pope Francis visited Albania on 24 September 2014, which was the first nation in Europe he has visited[ citation needed ]
  • Albania is home to 520,000 Roman Catholics, and is the second largest religion in the country, after Islam [112]
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 1835See Apostolic Nunciature to Belgium.
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992See Bosnia and Herzegovina–Holy See relations.
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 1992See Croatia–Holy See relations.
  • Croatia has a resident embassy to the Holy See in Rome.
  • Holy See has a nunciature with a nuncio of ambassadorial rank with additional privileges in Zagreb.
  • According to the 2011 census 86.28% of Croats are Roman Catholic.
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus See Apostolic Nunciature to Cyprus.
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 1982
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union 1970See Holy See–European Union relations.

Many of the founders of the European Union were inspired by Catholic ideals, notably Robert Schuman, Alcide de Gasperi, Konrad Adenauer, and Jean Monnet. [114] [115]

Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 1942 [116] [117]

Finland has a resident embassy to the Holy See in Rome, [118] located at the Finnish Institute in Rome in Villa Lante al Gianicolo.

Flag of France.svg  France No later than 987,
based upon already-established relations no later than 714
See France–Holy See relations.

Relations between France and the Catholic Church are very ancient and have existed since the fifth century AD, and have been durable to the extent that France is sometimes called the eldest daughter of the Church. Areas of cooperation between Paris and the Holy See have traditionally included education, health care, the struggle against poverty and international diplomacy. Before the establishment of the welfare state, Church involvement was evident in many sectors of French society. Today, Paris's international peace initiatives are often in line with those of the Holy See, who favors dialogue on a global level.

Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 1951See Germany–Holy See relations.
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 1980See Greece–Holy See relations.
  • The Holy See established its Apostolic Nunciature to Greece in Athens in 1980. The Greek ambassador to the Holy See at first resided in Paris, where he was concurrently accredited to France; in 1988 a separate Greek embassy to the Holy See, situated in Rome, was established.
  • In May 2001, Pope John Paul II made a visit of pilgrimage to Greece. [119]
Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland 1977

Diplomatic relations were established in 1977, but the Pope Paul VI in his greeting to the first Ambassador from Iceland referred to these relations as "the millenary ties between your people (i.e. of Iceland) and the Catholic Church". [120]

Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 1929See Holy See–Ireland relations.

The majority of Irish people are Roman Catholic. The Holy See has a nunciature in Dublin. Ireland had, in Rome, an embassy to the Holy See. The government closed that embassy in 2011 for financial reasons; however, it re-opened the embassy in 2014. [121] Currently Ireland's representative to the Holy See is a 'non-resident ambassador', [121] who is an ordinary resident of Dublin.

Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 1929See Holy See–Italy relations.

Because of the small size of the Vatican City State, embassies accredited to the Holy See are based on Italian territory. Treaties signed between Italy and the Vatican City State permit such embassages. Like the Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of Andorra to the Holy See is also based on its home territory.

Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania 1991
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg 1891See Apostolic Nunciature to Luxembourg.
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 1127
1530; 1798; 1800; 1813
1965
Flag of Monaco.svg  Monaco 1875See Apostolic Nunciature to Monaco.
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1829See Apostolic Nunciature to the Netherlands.
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 1982See Holy See–Norway relations.
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 1555See Holy See–Poland relations.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Warsaw. [124]
  • Poland has an embassy to the Holy See in Rome. [125]
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1179
1670
1918

Portugal has one of the oldest relations with the Holy See; it received formal recognition as independent from Castile in 1179 and has always kept a strong relation with the Holy See following the maritime expansion and the Christianization of overseas territories. Relations suspended from 1640 to 1670, following the war against Spain (the Holy See did not recognise the Portuguese independence before the end of the war in 1668) and from 1911 to 1918 (following the proclamation of the Portuguese Republic in October 1910 and the approvation of the Law of Separation of the Church and the State). Concordats signed in 1940 and 2004.

  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Lisbon.
  • Portugal has an embassy in Rome.
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 1920;1990See Holy See–Romania relations.
  • The Holy See has an embassy in Bucharest.
  • Romania has an embassy to the Holy See.
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 2009See Holy See–Russia relations.
  • Russia has an embassy in Rome accredited to the Holy See.
  • Holy See–Russia relations are largely linked to ecumenical relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 2003See Holy See–Serbia relations.
  • The Holy See has an embassy in Belgrade. [126]
  • Serbia has an embassy to the Holy See in Rome. [127]
  • The Holy See's decision to withhold recognition of Kosovo has led to a warming of relations with Serbia, undoing the tension with Yugoslavia that followed the Holy See's relatively speedy recognition of Croatia's independence. [128]
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1530See Holy See–Spain relations.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Madrid.
  • Spain has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg   Switzerland 1586See Holy See–Switzerland relations.
  • Holy See has a nunciature in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Rome to the Holy See.
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 1992See Holy See–Ukraine relations.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 1982See Holy See–United Kingdom relations.

With the English Reformation, diplomatic links between London and the Holy See, which had been established in 1479, were interrupted in 1536 and again, after a brief restoration in 1553, in 1558. Formal diplomatic ties between the United Kingdom and the Holy See were restored in 1914 and raised to ambassadorial level in 1982. [133] [134]

Oceania

CountryFormal relations begun or resumedNotes
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1973
  • Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1973, Australia has maintained a non-resident Head of Mission, based in another European capital, as well as an office at the Holy See, headed by a Counsellor.
  • The Holy See has maintained an Apostolic Nunciature in Canberra since 1973.
  • On 21 July 2008, the Australian Government announced that it would appoint Tim Fischer as the first resident Ambassador to the Holy See. According to the Australian Foreign Ministry, this marked a significant deepening of Australia's relations with the Vatican since it would allow Australia to expand dialogue with the Vatican in areas including human rights, political and religious freedom, inter-faith dialogue, food security, arms control, refugees and anti-people trafficking, and climate change. [135] Fischer commenced his appointment on 30 January 2009, and presented credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 12 February 2009.
  • The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, visited Pope Benedict XVI and met the Vatican's Secretary of State on 9 July 2009.
  • The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith met Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States, on 3 December 2008, during his visit to Oslo to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Holy See played a facilitating role in relation to the Oslo process as a member of the Core Group of States.
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 1948
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 1973See Holy See-Papua New Guinea relations.
  • In 1973, an Apostolic Delegation of Papua New Guinea (from Apostolic Delegation of Australia and Papua New Guinea) was created.
  • In 1976, a delegation was created as the Apostolic Delegation of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
  • In 1977, the Vatican established the Apostolic Nunciature of Papua New Guinea and Apostolic Delegation of Solomon Islands. The Holy See established its Apostolic Nunciature in Port Moresby, the capital and largest city in Papua New Guinea. [140]

Multilateral politics

Participation in international organizations

The Holy See is active in international organizations and is a member of the following groups: [141]

The Holy See has the status of permanent observer state in:

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

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

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

Activities of the Holy See within the United Nations system

Since 6 April 1964, the Holy See has been a permanent observer state at the United Nations. In that capacity, the Holy See has since had a standing invitation to attend all the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Security Council, and the United Nations Economic and Social Council to observe their work, and to maintain a permanent observer mission at the UN headquarters in New York. [144] Accordingly, the Holy See has established a Permanent Observer Mission in New York, has sent representatives to all open meetings of the General Assembly and of its Main Committees, and has been able to influence their decisions and recommendations.

Relationship with Vatican City

Although the Holy See is closely associated with Vatican City, the independent territory over which the Holy See is sovereign, the two entities are separate and distinct.

The State of the Vatican City was created by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 to "ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See" and "to guarantee to it an indisputable sovereignty in international affairs" (quotations from the treaty). Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's former Secretary for Relations with States, said that the Vatican City is a "minuscule support-state that guarantees the spiritual freedom of the Pope with the minimum territory." [145]

The Holy See, not Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with states, and foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to Vatican City State. It is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities and likewise, generally, it is the Holy See that participates in international organizations, with the exception of those dealing with technical matters of clearly territorial character, [141] such as:

Under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, the Holy See has extraterritorial authority over various sites in Rome and two Italian sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo. The same authority is extended under international law over the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in a foreign country.

Diplomatic representations to the Holy See

Of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See, 91 are situated in Rome, although those countries, if they also have an embassy to Italy, then have two embassies in the same city, since, by agreement between the Holy See and Italy, the same person cannot at the same time be accredited to both. The United Kingdom recently housed its embassy to the Holy See in the same building as its embassy to the Italian Republic, a move that led to a diplomatic protest from the Holy See. An ambassador accredited to a country other than Italy can be accredited also to the Holy See. For example, the embassy of India, located in Bern, to Switzerland and Liechtenstein is also accredited to the Holy See while the Holy See maintains an Apostolic Nunciature in New Delhi. For reasons of economy, smaller countries accredit to the Holy See a mission situated elsewhere and accredited also to the country of residence and perhaps other countries.

Rejection of ambassadorial candidates

It has been reported on several occasions that the Holy See will reject ambassadorial candidates whose personal lives are not in accordance with Catholic teachings. In 1973, the Vatican rejected the nomination of Dudley McCarthy as Australia's non-resident ambassador due to his status as a divorcee. [147] According to press accounts in Argentina in January 2008, the country's nominee as ambassador, Alberto Iribarne, a Catholic, was rejected on the grounds that he was living with a woman other than the wife from whom he was divorced. [148] In September 2008, French and Italian press reports likewise claimed that the Holy See had refused the approval of several French ambassadorial candidates, including a divorcee and an openly gay man. [149]

Massimo Franco, author of Parallel Empires, asserted in April 2009 that the Obama administration had put forward three candidates for consideration for the position of United States Ambassador to the Holy See, but each of them had been deemed insufficiently anti-abortion by the Vatican. This claim was denied by the Holy See's spokesman Federico Lombardi, and was dismissed by former ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady as being in conflict with diplomatic practice. Vatican sources said that it is not the practice to vet the personal ideas of those who are proposed as ambassadors to the Holy See, though in the case of candidates who are Catholics and who are living with someone, their marital status is taken into account. Divorced people who are not Catholics can in fact be accepted, provided their marriage situation is in accord with the rules of their own religion. [150]

Treaties and concordats

Since the Holy See is legally capable of ratifying international treaties, and does ratify them, it has negotiated numerous bilateral treaties with states and it has been invited to participate – on equal footing with States – in the negotiation of most universal International law-making treaties. Traditionally, an agreement on religious matters between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state is called a concordat. This often includes both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country, such as exemptions from certain legal matters and processes, issues such as taxation, as well as the right of a state to influence the selection of bishops within its territory.

Bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central African Republic–Holy See relations</span> Bilateral relations

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