The myth of the Vatican being a state.

Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#1
A few years ago , I read a book called 'The Case OF the Pope' by Jeffrey Robertson, well known barrister, QC , and specialist in International law Robertson claims the Vatican being accepted as a state by so many countries is a gigantic con job.

Be most interested in other views and/or more information. (This information is incidental to the the the book, which is about The Pope and the Vatican's responsibility for human rights abuses of the Church, and especially of its priests. He argues about a systemic protection 0f pedophile priest,. which goes as far as the pope.)

I'll mention as much of the information he provided as a I can remember:

The Vatican is also known as The Apostolic Palace. It has an area of 44 hectares and a population of 1000. It has been used as The Pope's residence since 1327.

The Vatican was made a state by the Lateran treaty in1929, signed by the freely elected Italian Prime Minster , Benito Mussolini.

Since that time, It has gone on to be recognised as a state by most major countries.

The Vatican is not a voting member of the United Nations. It does however, belong to several international UN committees, which gives it political influence to which it has no right.

Why the Vatican is not a state. It meets none of the general criteria associated with sovereign states:

The Vatican has no citizens. Everyone who lives or works in the Vatican retains their nationality. Eg Pope Benedict XV1, was German and retained his German citizenship.

It has no diplomatic services of its own.

The Vatican has no armed forces, apart from the Pope's traditional protectors, The Swiss Guard (formed in 1506)

It has no police force, it uses Italy's

The Vatican issues no currency,

There are no basic services, such as Sewage electricity and water, it uses Italy's..

I'm sure there are more, but I think that gives the general idea. The book is still in print as far as I know.


So Geoffrey Robertson QC’s The Case of the Pope, which is the first Penguin Special since the series was abandoned in 1989, is typical of the genre in its exposure of the dark side of the Roman Catholic Church’s leadership. It’s a passionate blast in defence of the most vulnerable victims possible: children.





The Case of the Pope by Geoffrey Robertson





Robertson’s primary premise is that the Pope as head of the Vatican is responsible for a secret system that has protected paedophile priests from proper criminal investigation and prosecution; that its archaic process of Canon Law fails to deal with them adequately and that Pope Benedict is personally responsible for these failures and obstructions and should be indicted for them; that he should not be allowed to hide behind being a head of state and should not be given immunity from prosecution on these dubious grounds. He is, in other words, an enemy of human rights.


The Case of the Pope by Geoffrey Robertson QC: review
 
Likes: specul8

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,711
Australia
#2
All valid points, however the fact of recognition as a sovereign state by other sovereign states makes it a de facto state. The same can be said of other states that some others either do or do not recognise, the ROC or North Korea for example.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#3
All valid points, however the fact of recognition as a sovereign state by other sovereign states makes it a de facto state. The same can be said of other states that some others either do or do not recognise, the ROC or North Korea for example.
YES ;it's smoke and mirrors . As with the old saying "if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck---------"-
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,554
Florania
#4
YES ;it's smoke and mirrors . As with the old saying "if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck---------"-
Since "myth" can mean "sacred stories" for believers, I currently use the word "fantasy" instead.
A few states do not have armed forces, either.
Vatican is mostly the home of the current pope and was given such status as a "compensation" for the previous papal states.
Given that the "Papal States" lasted for about 1000 years, we can speculate a few things:
How were these territories acquired?
How did these territories fare under the Catholic Church?
 
Oct 2018
26
Belgium
#5
Some of these points are completely irrelevant. For instance, where does he get the idea from that having armed forces is a requirement for being a state? What's more, that point is then immediately contradicted by mentioning the Swiss Guard, which, however small and symbolic, is an armed force. Some of them apply to pretty much all other microstates. It's pretty obvious that a little city state surrounded by a larger country is going to be dependent on the water and electricity supply of that country. For that matter, that's also true for a lot of places near borders, as well as for all enclaves. I've never heard that generating all of your own electricity is a criterion for statehood - if it was, no European country would meet it, since they all rely on an interconnected grid allowing them to import electricity. Some of them are just plain wrong, and don't give one a very high opinion of the way a QC deals with facts. Vatican City does have citizens. Everyone who works there permanently becomes a citizen, and so do their spouses and children. That all these citizens have dual nationality, and that they lose that citizenship again wihen they leave their job, is irrelevant to statehood, it's just an unusual way of defining citizenship. Vatican City does have a police force of its own, which even operates a prison. It does issue currency, but it has always had a currency union with Italy and San Marino, so in practice all three countries use the same money. Since the abolition of the Italian, San Marinese and Vatican lira on the introduction of the euro, that is the euro. Vatican euro coins are barely in circulation, and mostly sold to collectors, but they are legal tender across the eurozone. A few years ago, Vatican City even got a rap on the knuckles from the European Central Bank for issuing coins that didn't follow the rules (they'd issued special coins during the interregnum between the current and the preceding Pope, which for some reason isn't allowed). And again, having a separate currency of one's own is not a requirement for statehood, otherwise all countries in a currency union, like all the eurozone members, would cease to be independent states.

What is a problem is the complicated entanglement and confusion between Vatican City, which is the supposedly independent state, and the Holy See, which isn't, but is completely in control of Vatican City. Yet it's the Holy See, not Vatican City, which has a diplomatic service, and which was granted "observer state" status at the UN. I agree that should never have happened. And beyond that, the entanglement and confusion of all of that with all the separate branches of the Roman Catholic Church in different countries. The Vatican likes to play independent state when it suits them, and purely religious non-political organisation when that is more advantageous. It also happily abuses its status to shield church officials from criminal prosecution (of course, it has no extradition treaties).
 
Likes: bboomer
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#6
@Boduognat
I simply presented the opinion of a QC barrister** and expert in International Law, as I remember it. I may have misremembered one or two points, especially the kind of detail you've mentioned. I was completely convinced when I first read the book and remain so .Any weakness in the argument is due to my poor memory, for which I apologise.

** for those unfamiliar with the English legal system: QC stands for "Queen's council" commonly called 'a silk'.It is signal honour and denotes a person of high learning and legal accomplishment.
"A barrister' is a lawyer who appears in court. A solicitor is one who practices law outside of the court. To confuse things even further, most lawyers are able to practice in court if they wish, but most tend to specialise, even within those distinctions..
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,711
Australia
#7
** for those unfamiliar with the English legal system: QC stands for "Queen's council" commonly called 'a silk'.It is signal honour and denotes a person of high learning and legal accomplishment.
"A barrister' is a lawyer who appears in court. A solicitor is one who practices law outside of the court. To confuse things even further, most lawyers are able to practice in court if they wish, but most tend to specialise, even within those distinctions..
In Australia QC has been replaced by SC Senior Council. Is it still a requirement for a barrister to have an instructing solicitor before they can represent someone in court?
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#8
In Australia QC has been replaced by SC Senior Council. Is it still a requirement for a barrister to have an instructing solicitor before they can represent someone in court?
Thanks, I know the difference. I have a few lawyer friends. They were REALLY pissed off when silks were abolished.

Don't know if an instructing solicitor is still required in Oz.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,699
Portugal
#9
As already pointed there are some untrue or misleading items in the OP.

I would want to add that “It has no diplomatic services of its own” is also untrue.

Even Wikipedia has a page about it: List of diplomatic missions of the Holy See - Wikipedia

And many things can be seen online: Structure of Governorate

But basically as Belgarion said “the fact of recognition as a sovereign state by other sovereign states makes it a de facto state”.

So I don’t see the myth here, only see the use of that word to sell books from the bookshelf.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,066
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#10
Mm. How many of the criteria that the Vatican does not fit also applies to San Marino?

Also, I believe the Swiss Guard act as the police force of the Vatican.
 

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