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A papal legate or apostolic legate (from the ancient Roman title legatus ) is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters.
The legate is appointed directly by the pope—the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. Hence a legate is usually sent to a government, a sovereign or to a large body of believers (such as a national church) or to take charge of a major religious effort, such as an ecumenical council, a crusade to the Holy Land, or even against a heresy such as the Cathars.
The term legation is applied both to a legate's mandate and to the territory concerned (such as a state, or an ecclesiastical province). The relevant adjective is legatine.
This section needs expansionwith: history in early Church to 1300, and material other than English and Wolsey. You can help by adding to it. (April 2016)
In the High Middle Ages, papal legates were often used to strengthen the links between Rome and the many parts of Christendom. More often than not, legates were learned men and skilled diplomats who were not from the country they were accredited to. For example, the Italian-born Guala Bicchieri served as papal legate to England in the early 13th century and played a major role in both the English government and church at the time. By the Late Middle Ages it had become more common to appoint native clerics to the position of legate within their own country, such as Cardinal Wolsey acting as legate to the court of Henry VIII of England. The reason for this switch in policy could be attributed to a change in attitude on the eve of the Reformation; by this point, foreign men representing the papacy would be more likely to reinforce dissent than bring Christendom closer together. [ non sequitur ]
Papal legates often summoned legatine councils, which dealt with church government and other ecclesiastical issues.According to Pope Gregory VII, writing in the Dictatus papae , a papal legate "presides over all bishops in a council, even if he is inferior in rank, and he can pronounce sentence of deposition against them". During the Middle Ages, a legatine council was the usual means that a papal legate imposed his directives.
There are several ranks of papal legates in diplomacy, some of which are no longer used.
The most common form of papal legate today is the apostolic nuncio, whose task it is to strengthen relations between the Holy See and the Catholic Church in a particular country and at the same time to act as the diplomatic representative of the Holy See to the government of that country.An apostolic nuncio is generally equivalent in rank to that of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, although in Catholic countries the nuncio often ranks above ambassadors in diplomatic protocol. A nuncio performs the same functions as an ambassador and has the same diplomatic privileges. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the Holy See is a party, a nuncio is an ambassador like those from any other country. The Vienna Convention allows the host state to grant seniority of precedence to the nuncio over others of ambassadorial rank accredited to the same country, and may grant the deanship of that country's diplomatic corps to the nuncio regardless of seniority.
Pro-nuncio was a term used from 1965 to 1991 for a papal diplomatic representative of full ambassadorial rank accredited to a country that did not accord him precedence over other ambassadors and ex officio deanship of the diplomatic corps. In those countries, the papal representative's precedence within the corps is exactly on a par with that of the other members of ambassadorial rank, so that he becomes dean only on becoming the senior member of the corps.
For countries with which the Holy See has no diplomatic relations, an apostolic delegate is sent to serve as a liaison with the Catholic Church in that country, though not accredited to its government.
This highest rank (literally "from the (pope's) side", i.e. "intimately" trusted) is normally awarded to a priest of cardinal rank. It is an exceptional investiture and can either be focused or broad in scope. The legate a latere is the alter ego of the pope, and as such, possesses full plenipotentiary powers.
Literally "born legate", i.e. not nominated individually but ex officio, namely a bishop holding this rank as a privilege of his see, e.g. archbishops of Canterbury (pre-Reformation), Prague, Esztergom, Udine, Salzburg, Gniezno and Cologne.The legatus natus would act as the pope's representative in his province, with a legatus a latere only being sent in extraordinary circumstances. Although limited in their jurisdiction compared to legati a latere, a legatus natus was not subordinate to them.
Literally "sent legate", possessing limited powers for the purpose of completing a specific mission. This commission is normally focused in scope and of short duration.
Some administrative (temporal) provinces of the papal states in (mostly central) Italy were governed by a papal legate. This has been the case in Benevento, in Pontecorvo (of Campagna e Marittima/of Frosinone) and in Viterbo. In four cases, including Bologna, this post was awarded exclusively to cardinals; the Velletri post was created for Bartolomeo Pacca.
The title could be changed to Apostolic Delegate, as happened in Frosinone (for Pontecorvo) in 1827.
The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law, governing the Vatican City.
An apostolic nuncio is an ecclesiastical diplomat, serving as an envoy or a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a state or to an international organization. A nuncio is appointed by and represents the Holy See, and is the head of the diplomatic mission, called an Apostolic Nunciature, which is the equivalent of an embassy. The Holy See is legally distinct from the Vatican City or the Catholic Church. In modern times, a nuncio is usually an archbishop.
Pandulf Verraccio, whose first name may also be spelled Pandolph or Pandulph, was a Roman ecclesiastical politician, papal legate to England and bishop of Norwich. Pandulf was born in Rome, and first came to England in 1211, when he was commissioned by Innocent III to negotiate with King John. He is often erroneously called Cardinal Pandulph or Pandulph Masca due to being confused with Cardinal Pandolfo da Lucca, who himself was confused with Cardinal Pandulf of Pisa and erroneously given the Pisan family name Masca. His authentic surname may be rendered Verraccio, Verracchio or Verracclo.
An apostolic nunciature is a top-level diplomatic mission of the Holy See, equivalent to an embassy. However, it does not issue visas, nor does it have consulates.
The Apostolic Nunciature to the United States is the diplomatic mission of the Holy See to the United States. It is located at 3339 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., in the Embassy Row neighborhood. The current Apostolic Nuncio is Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who was named to the position by Pope Francis on 12 April 2016.
Pio Laghi was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. His service was primarily in the diplomatic service of the Holy See and the Roman Curia. He served as Apostolic nuncio to several countries and as the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991. Cardinal Laghi was Pope John Paul II's secret emissary to the White House and to several presidents of the United States. He had a particularly close relationship with George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
The Apostolic Nunciature to Great Britain is a diplomatic office of the Holy See in Great Britain. It is headed by the Apostolic Nuncio who has the rank of an ambassador. The parties agreed to exchange representatives at the ambassadorial level and Pope John Paul II erected the Nunciature to Great Britain on 17 January 1982. Before then, the interests of the Holy See in Great Britain had been represented by an Apostolic Delegate since 1938, though not granted diplomatic status until 1979. The decision to designate the nuncio to Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom reflected the complex and frequently antagonistic relationship between the Holy See and the British crown since they severed ties in the sixteenth century. British government sources said it had been agreed that the nuncio in London would concern himself with matters in England, Scotland and Wales, while the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, based in Dublin, would have within his purview the entire island of Ireland.
The monarchia Sicula was a historical but unduly inflated right exercised from the beginning of the sixteenth century by the secular authorities of Sicily, according to which they claimed final jurisdiction in religious matters, independent of the Holy See.
United States–Holy See relations are bilateral relations between the United States and the Holy See. The principal U.S. official is Chargé d'Affaires Patrick Connell, who officially started at his position on January 20, 2021. The Holy See is represented by its Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who assumed office on April 12, 2016. The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is located in Rome, in the Villa Domiziana. The Nunciature to the United States is located in Washington, D.C., at 3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
The Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines is a top-level diplomatic mission assigned by the Holy See to the Philippines, located at 2140 Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila.
A legatine council or legatine synod is an ecclesiastical council or synod that is presided over by a papal legate.
Leopoldo Girelli is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church who has been named apostolic nuncio to India. He was nuncio to Israel and to Cyprus as well as apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine from 2017 to 2021. He has worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1987 and previously served as nuncio to Indonesia, East Timor and Singapore.
Juan de Borja Lanzol de Romaní the Younger (1470–1500) was a Spanish Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.
Giovanni Castiglione (1420–1460) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.
Francesco Sfondrati (1493–1550) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal and the father of Pope Gregory XIV.
Girolamo Verallo (1497–1555) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.
Fabio Mignanelli was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.
Zaccaria Delfino (1527–1584) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal. He served as bishop in modern-day Croatia, served as the papal nuncio to the Hapsburg Monarchy and participated in the Council of Trent before becoming a Cardinal in 1565. He was a member of the papal conclave that elected Pope Pius V and was named vice-protector of Germany.
Alessandro Riario (1543–1585) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.
Edward Joseph Adams is an American prelate of the Catholic Church who has served in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1976. He was the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain from 2017 to 2020.