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The Secretariat of State (Latin: Secretaria Status; Italian: Segreteria di Stato) is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See. The Secretariat is divided into three sections, the Section for General Affairs, the Section for Relations with States, and, since 2017, the Section for Diplomatic Staff. 
The origins of the Secretariat of State go back to the fifteenth century. The apostolic constitution Non Debet Reprehensibile of 31 December 1487 established the Secretaria Apostolica comprising twenty-four apostolic secretaries, one of whom bore the title Secretarius Domesticus and held a position of pre-eminence. One can also trace to this Secretaria Apostolica the Chancery of Briefs, the Secretariat of Briefs to Princes and the Secretariat of Latin Letters.
Pope Leo X established another position, the Secretarius Intimus, to assist the Cardinal who had control of the affairs of State and to attend to correspondence in languages other than Latin, chiefly with the Apostolic Nuncios (who at that time were evolving into permanent diplomatic representatives). From these beginnings, the Secretariat of State developed, especially at the time of the Council of Trent.
For a long time, the Secretarius Intimus, also called Secretarius Papae or Secretarius Maior, was almost always a prelate, often endowed with episcopal rank. It was only at the beginning of the pontificate of Innocent X that someone already a Cardinal and not a member of the Pope's family was called to this high office. Pope Innocent XII definitively abolished the office of Cardinal Nephew, and the powers of that office were assigned to the Cardinal Secretary of State alone.
On 19 July 1814, Pope Pius VII established the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, expanding the Congregatio super negotiis ecclesiasticis Regni Galliarum established by Pius VI in 1793. With the apostolic constitution Sapienti Consilio of 29 June 1908, Saint Pius X divided the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs in the form fixed by the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1917 (Can. 263) and he specified the duties of each of the three sections: the first was concerned essentially with extraordinary affairs, while the second attended to the ordinary affairs, and the third, until then an independent body (the Chancery of Apostolic Briefs), had the duty of preparing and dispatching pontifical Briefs.
With the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae  of 15 August 1967, Pope Paul VI reformed the Roman Curia, implementing the desire expressed by the bishops in the Second Vatican Council. This gave a new face to the Secretariat of State, suppressing the Chancery of Apostolic Briefs, formerly the third section, and transforming the former first section, the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, into a body distinct from the Secretariat of State, though closely related to it, which was to be known as the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church.
In December 2020. Pope Francis enacted legislation stripping the Secretariat of State of its financial assets and real estate holdings following its bungled management of hundreds of millions of euros in donations.  Controversial investments which were made by the Vatican Secretariat of State department also became subject to a corruption investigation. 
On 28 June 1988, John Paul II promulgated the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus ,  which introduced a reform of the Roman Curia and divided the Secretariat of State into two sections: the Section for General Affairs and the Section for Relations with States, which incorporated the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. Pope Francis added a third unit, the Section for Diplomatic Staff, in November 2017. 
The head of the Secretariat of State is the Secretary of State, who is a cardinal. The Cardinal Secretary of State is primarily responsible for the diplomatic and political activity of the Holy See, in some circumstances representing the Pope himself.
The Section for General Affairs handles the normal operations of the Church including organizing the activities of the Roman Curia, making appointments to curial offices, publishing official communications, papal documents, handling the concerns of embassies to the Holy See, and keeping the papal seal and Fisherman's Ring. Abroad, the Section for General Affairs is responsible for organizing the activities of nuncios around the world in their activities concerning the local church. 
The Section for General Affairs is headed by an archbishop known as the Substitute for General Affairs, or more formally, Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State. The current Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State is Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra. There have been 10 substitutes since 1953:
The deputy to the Substitute for General Affairs, effectively deputy chief of staff, is called the Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. The current Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State is Monsignor Luigi Roberto Cona.
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The Congregation for the Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Kingdom of France was set up by Pope Pius VI with the Constitution Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum in 1793 to deal with the problems created for the Church by the French Revolution. In 1814, Pope Pius VII gave this office responsibility for negotiations with all governments, renaming it the Extraordinary Congregation for the Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Catholic World (Latin : Congregatio Extraordinaria Praeposita Negotiis Ecclesiasticis Orbis Catholici). Some years later, Pope Leo XII changed its name to the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (Latin : Sacra Congregatio pro Negotiis Ecclesiasticis Extraordinariis), which remained its title until 1967 when Pope Paul VI separated this body from the Secretariat of State, calling it the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. This council was later replaced by the present Section for Relations with States.
The Section is responsible for the Holy See's interactions with civil governments. According to the relevant articles of the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus ,  the responsibilities of the Secretary for Relations with States are:
The Section is headed by an Archbishop, the Secretary for Relations with States, who reports to the Secretary of State. His staff includes a Prelate, the Under-Secretary for Relations with States, and is assisted by Cardinals and Bishops. The Secretary for Relations with States is often called the foreign minister of the Holy See, and the Under-Secretary is often called the deputy foreign minister.
The current Secretary for Relations with States is Archbishop Paul Gallagher. The current Undersecretary for Relations with States is Francesca Di Giovanni, the first woman to hold this office.  The current Delegate for Pontifical Representations is Archbishop Jan Pawłowski and the current Head of Protocol is Monsignor Joseph Murphy.
On 21 November 2017, the Secretariat announced that Pope Francis had created the Section for Diplomatic Staff, expanding the responsibilities of the Delegate for Pontifical Representations.  It has been operating since 9 November 2017.  Since its creation it has been headed by Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski. 
In 2022, this section was included in the organizational structure of the Roman Curia detailed in the apostolic constitution Praedicate evangelium . 
The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. It includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome, which has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Catholic Church and the sovereign city-state known as the Vatican City.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. The Roman Curia is the institution which the Roman Pontiff ordinarily makes use of in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office and universal mission in the world. It is at the service of the Pope, successor of Peter, and of the Bishops, successors of the Apostles, according to the modalities that are proper to the nature of each one, fulfilling their function with an evangelical spirit, working for the good and at the service of communion, unity and edification of the Universal Church and attending to the demands of the world in which the Church is called to fulfill its mission.
The Secretary of State of His Holiness, commonly known as the Cardinal Secretary of State, presides over the Holy See's Secretariat of State, which is the oldest and most important dicastery of the Roman Curia. The Secretariat of State performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See and the Vatican City. The Secretary of State is sometimes described as the prime minister of the Holy See, even though the nominal head of government of Vatican City is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.
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The Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, previously named Congregation for the Oriental Churches or Congregation for the Eastern Churches, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia responsible for contact with the Eastern Catholic churches for the sake of assisting their development and protecting their rights. It also maintains whole and entire in the one Catholic Church the heritage and canon law of the various Eastern Catholic traditions. It has exclusive authority over the following regions: Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, southern Albania and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and also oversees jurisdictions based in Romania, Southern Italy, Hungary, India and Ukraine.
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Domenico Tardini was a longtime aide to Pope Pius XII in the Secretariat of State. Pope John XXIII named him Cardinal Secretary of State and, in this position the most prominent member of the Roman Curia in Vatican City.
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The Section for Relations with States or Second Section of the Secretariat of State is the body within the Roman Curia charged with dealing with matters that involve relations with civil governments. It has been part of the Vatican Secretariat of State since 1909.
Pastor bonus is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Catholic Church.
Angelo Dell'Acqua was an Italian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as vicar general of Rome from 1968 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1967.
Raffaele Scapinelli di Leguigno was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Prefect of the Congregation of the Affairs of Religious from 1918 to 1920, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1915.
The history of the Roman Curia, the administrative apparatus responsible for managing the affairs of the Holy See and the Catholic Church, can be traced to the 11th century when informal methods of administration began to take on a more organized structure and eventual a bureaucratic form. The Curia has undergone a series of renewals and reforms, including a major overhaul following the loss of the Papal States, which fundamentally altered the range and nature of the Curia's responsibilities, removing many of an entirely secular nature.
Pontificalis Domus was a motu proprio document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.
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