Holy See

The Television & Movie Wiki: for TV, celebrities, and movies.

Image:Holysee-arms.png The term Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes, lit. "holy seat") refers in its original sense to the episcopal see of Rome, of which the Pope is the diocesan bishop (technically, the ordinary). Currently, Benedict XVI is the ordinary of the Holy See.

In the sense more widely used today, as defined in canon law, the Holy See refers to the Pope, the Roman Curia, and associated institutions, in effect, the government of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Holy See is also called the "Apostolic See", although this name properly refers to any see founded by the Apostles and especially to the three original patriarchal sees of Rome (St. Peter and Paul), Alexandria (St. Mark) and Antioch (St. Peter). Later Constantinople, allegedly founded by St. Andrew, and Jerusalem, restored after its period as a pagan city, were also numbered among the patriarchal sees. The five sees were ranked in descending order of precedence: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem.

Aside from Rome, the archiepiscopal See of Mainz, which was also of electoral and primatial rank, is the only other see referred to as the "Holy See," although this usage is rather less common.

The Holy See and Vatican City

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

Since medieval times the Holy See has been recognized as a legal personality under international law. After the Italian takeover of the Papal States in 1870, there was some uncertainty among jurists as to whether the Holy See, without territorial sovereignty, could continue to act as an independent personality in international matters. The State of the Vatican City was created by the Lateran treaties in 1929 to "insure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See" and "to guarantee to it an indisputable sovereignty in international affairs" (quotes from the treaty). Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's former Secretary for Relations with States, said that the Vatican City is a "miniscule support-state that guarantees the spiritual freedom of the Pope with the minimum territory". [1]

The Holy See is the entity which maintains diplomatic relations with states, and which participates in international organizations. Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See rather than to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes diplomatic agreements ("Concordats") with other sovereign states.

Organization of the Holy See

The Pope governs the Church through the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia consists of the Secretariat of State, nine Congregations, three Tribunals, 11 Pontifical Councils, and a complex of offices that administer church affairs at the highest level. The Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, directs and coordinates the Curia. The current incumbent, Angelo Cardinal Sodano, is the Holy See's equivalent of a prime minister. Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary of the Section for Relations With States of the Secretariat of State acts as the Holy See's foreign minister. Sodano and Lajolo served in their respective roles under Pope John Paul II and were then reappointed to those same roles by Pope Benedict XVI.

Among the most active of the major Curial institutions are the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees church doctrine; the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates the appointment of bishops worldwide; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees all missionary activities; and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which deals with international peace and social issues.

Three tribunals are responsible for judicial power. The Apostolic Penitentiary deals with matters of conscience; the Sacra Rota is responsible for appeals, including annulments of marriage; and the Apostolic Signatura is the final court of appeal.

The Prefecture for Economic Affairs coordinates the finances of the Holy See departments and supervises the administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, an investment fund dating back to the Lateran Pacts. A committee of 15 cardinals, chaired by the Secretary of State, has final oversight authority over all financial matters of the Holy See, including those of the Institute for Works of Religion, the Vatican bank.

Because the Holy See comprises more than simply the Pontificate, it does not dissolve upon the death or resignation of the reigning Pope; in contrast, the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia (such as the prefects of congregations) cease to hold office immediately upon the Pope's death. During a sede vacante—that is, the interregnum occurring between the Pope's death and the election of his successor—the government of the Holy See (and therefore of the Roman Catholic Church) falls to the College of Cardinals. The Cardinal Camerlengo administers the temporalities (i.e., properties and finances) of the Holy See during this period. Canon law prohibits the College and the Camerlengo from introducing any innovations or novelties in the government of the Church during this period. The head of the Apostolic Penitentiary (normally a cardinal, called the Major Penitentiary) also remains in office during the period of Sede vacante.

External links

Papal rituals, symbols & ceremonial Image:Vatican coa.png

Apostolic Palace | Papal ceremonial | Coat of Arms of popes | Conclave | Coronation | Holy See | Inauguration | Papal Oath | Papal Ring | Papal Fanon | Mitre | Sedia Gestoria | Sistine Chapel | Basilica of St. John Lateran | Pallium | St. Peter's Basilica | St. Peter's Square | Papal Tiara | Vatican City

da:Den Hellige Stol

de:Heiliger Stuhl es:Santa Sede Apostólica fr:Saint-Siège it:Santa Sede ka:წმინდა საყდარი la:Sancta Sedes nl:Heilige Stoel pl:Stolica Apostolska pt:Santa Sé ro:Sfântul Scaun ru:Папский престол fi:Pyhä istuin sv:Heliga stolen vi:Toà Thánh

Personal tools