Sunday, April 7, 2013

Vatican City

An interesting subject in terms of nations is the entity of Vatican City. Despite a long history with the Catholic Church's head in Rome, Vatican City was only relatively recently formed to its current political appearance in 1929 through the Lateran Treaty with Italy (full text here). When Italy was unified in 1871, what would become Vatican City did not wish to be incorporated into Italy and so sat for almost 60 years in a state of limbo labelled the "Roman Question". Eventually an agreement was made in which Vatican City would be its own legal entity, albeit closely linked to Italy.

Vatican City exists as a nation because of Religion, one of the major reasons in the creation of some nations. Ironically, both Italy and Vatican City, at the time of the Lateran Treaty, held Roman Catholicism as the official religion. The difference was that Italy was becoming a modern nation with many various aspects, while Vatican City focused to a much greater extent on the aspect of religion.

Today the Vatican City is still the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is unique among nations in that many modern nations seek to not specify a particular religion, while Vatican City exists only to preach its religion. Vatican City is not a member of the United Nations, but it is still widely recognized as a state separate from any other, meeting the criteria for the constitutive theory of statehood. Vatican city meets all of the criteria for the declarative theory of statehood as well, making it a state by both main definitions. (See the difference between Declarative and Constitutive theories of statehood here).

Vatican City has a major global impact, arguably larger than many states of greater size. This is because although Vatican City has fewer than 1,000 citizens, the Catholic religion is practiced by more than 1 billion people worldwide, meaning that Vatican City has tremendous international influence. It is very rare for a country to have such a strong influence over people who are not citizens of that country, making Vatican City a rather unique nation.

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