Vatican City State

Vatican City State
▪ 2009

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2008 est.): 930; about 3,000 workers live outside the Vatican
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope Benedict XVI
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone

      As part of the Vatican's continuous diplomatic action, Pope Benedict XVI met visitors from many countries in 2008. One was Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who in turn invited the pontiff to Iraq. Syria's grand mufti, Ahmad Bader Hassoun, also extended an invitation to the pope to visit that country. In April, Pope Benedict made his first trip to the U.S. since his elevation in 2005. During a six-day visit to Washington, D.C., and New York City, the pontiff met with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, addressed the United Nations, visited the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and celebrated mass at Yankee Stadium. He also spoke on the recent scandal of priestly sexual abuse and met privately with several victims. Later in the year the Vatican announced an interest in playing a role in possible multilateral negotiations over the future of Jerusalem.

      During the year representatives of the international Islamic community sought new opportunities for debate to overcome recent misunderstandings. Changes in the Roman Catholic liturgy for the Good Friday celebration prompted a response by members of the Jewish faith, who also expressed the wish to intensify dialogue. In early November the Vatican hosted an unprecedented summit with Muslim representatives from several countries and branches of Islam.

      The pope voiced concern about rising world secularism and about renewed nationalism in 2008, a risk perceived especially in connection with the conflict between Russia and Georgia. The Vatican also focused attention on some of the pernicious consequences of globalization, such as economic dualism and the plight of immigrants seeking haven in economically advanced countries. The Holy See raised special objections to policies announced in Italy that were intended to marginalize immigrants.

      The Vatican fared poorly on the financial front during the fiscal year owing to the poor performance of its investments and unfavorable exchange rates for the U.S. dollar. Most of the Vatican's investments and donations were in dollars, while its expenses were in euros.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2008

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2007 est.): 930; about 3,000 workers live outside the Vatican
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope Benedict XVI
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone

      Fears that a German head of state, Pope Benedict XVI, might upset the traditional national bias within the Vatican were allayed in 2007 by reports that, if anything, the composition of the Holy See had become more Italian in some offices than in the past. This was evident in the Secretariat of State, where the top seven officials were all Italian. While consolidating the Italian hold on these key positions, however, the pope had internationalized the leadership of the nine congregations, which were headed by cardinals of as many nationalities.

 Domestic action was matched by an intense calendar of foreign initiatives, which included formal visits from U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as separate visits by the presidents of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In his quest for world peace, Pope Benedict spoke out about the war in Iraq, where he claimed the conditions of Christians had actually deteriorated, and urged the U.S., along with North Korea, China, and other countries, to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty.

      Vatican officials sought to strengthen relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, with a view toward an eventual exchange of formal visits. The plight of Roman Catholics in China was also a focus of Vatican attention, with calls for Beijing to restrain action against priests not affiliated with the state-recognized Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Finally, stronger diplomatic ties were pursued with Muslim countries. To this end, the Vatican state established full diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, and in early November Pope Benedict welcomed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for the first official meeting between a pope and a reigning Saudi monarch.

      The financial health of the Vatican seemed to be good. Disclosure of the 2006 budget showed that its revenues had increased substantially, which allowed the Vatican state to cover the costs of its many activities throughout the world.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2007

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2006 est.): 920; about 3,000 workers live outside the Vatican
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope Benedict XVI
Head of administration:
Secretaries of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano and, from September 15, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone

      In 2006 the world continued to assess the performance of the Vatican's new head of state, Pope Benedict XVI. In September his address at the University of Regensburg, Ger., was interpreted by many as a criticism of Islamic thought. According to the Vatican, the pope wished to establish a frank and sincere dialogue with Muslims, pointing out that respect for Islam had been a feature of the Vatican's outlook since the 1960s. (See Religion .)

      Wide publicity was given during the year to Pope Benedict's first encyclical letter, which was issued on Christmas Day 2005. The encyclical was dedicated to the theme of human solidarity and the Roman Catholic Church's mission in offering resources and support to the suffering and poor. The Vatican representative to the UN noted that the world spent some $900 billion annually on armaments but only about $60 million on development. In this connection the Vatican called repeatedly for a reduction in arms production and continued its philanthropic action in such key areas as the treatment of AIDS victims (the Vatican furnished financial resources for a third of all such treatment worldwide). The Vatican also took a strong stance in favour of sound environmental practice.

      Domestically, the Vatican reported positive fiscal performance in the accounts published for the previous year. The net gains were earmarked to support victims of natural disasters and to help development in the world's poorest countries.

 The new pope maintained an intense travel calendar, embarking on missions to Poland in May, Spain in July, his native Germany in September, and Turkey in November. He also held his first Consistory, nominating 15 new cardinals, only 3 of whom were Italian.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2006

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2005 est.): 920; about 3,000 workers live outside the Vatican
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II, (chamberlain) Eduardo Cardinal Martínez Somalo from April 2, and, from April 19, (sovereign pontiff) Pope Benedict XVI
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      The year 2005 was a critical turning point for the Vatican City State. Pope John Paul II died on April 2 after a pontificate that had lasted since 1978. (See Obituaries.) Political leaders around the world acknowledged John Paul as having been one of the most remarkable figures of the 20th century. During his tenure as pope, the number of Roman Catholic faithful in the world grew significantly, as did the number of countries having diplomatic relations with the Vatican City State. (See Religion: Special Report. (Roman Catholicism at a Crossroads ))

      An estimated one million pilgrims flowed into Rome to pay homage to Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's Basilica. The funeral (and burial in the Vatican Grottos) was followed by nine days of mourning. During the interim between John Paul's death and the election of a new pope, the affairs of the Vatican City State were in the hands of the College of Cardinals, presided over by the dean, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. On April 18 the conclave of 115 cardinals convened to select a new pope. After two days of deliberation, they announced the election of Ratzinger, who took the name Benedict XVI (Benedict XVI, Pope ). (See Biographies.)

      The new pope made his first trip outside Italy in August when he traveled to his native Germany to preside over the World Youth Day festival in Cologne. Pope John Paul had been scheduled to attend. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Eastern Orthodox Church invited Benedict to visit Turkey later in the year, but the Turkish government requested that the trip be delayed until 2006. A dispute with Israel that arose in July when Benedict failed to include Israel in a list of countries targeted by terrorist attacks was settled in August after a meeting between Vatican and Israeli diplomats.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2005

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2004 est.): 800; about 3,000 workers live outside the Vatican
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      High on the agenda of the Vatican in 2004 was peace in an increasingly interrelated world. Pope John Paul II spoke out repeatedly against war and unilateral action by individual countries and in support of the concerted action of all nations, under the aegis of the UN. In early June, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush met with the pope and presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honour. Pope John Paul called for an end to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and a “speedy return of Iraq's sovereignty” but praised the president for his “promotion of moral values in American society.”

      The year was punctuated with rumours of terrorist threats directed at the pontiff. While the pope had refused to change his habit of mixing with the public, press statements indicated that some members of the Swiss Guard charged with his defense had traded their traditional pikes for automatic weapons to provide a more effective deterrent. The Vatican reportedly also installed surveillance cameras and metal detectors at entrances and issued wireless computer equipment to some security guards.

      The Vatican continued its efforts to create unity among the Christian faithful, including those in the Russian Orthodox Church, with which relations appeared to have warmed. The return of the much-venerated icon of Our Lady of Kazan to the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow played a role in this strategy of rapprochement.

      The pope expressed his full advocacy of a united Europe, stating at the same time disappointment that the new EU constitution did not include an explicit mention of Europe's Christian roots. Some EU member countries, notably Italy, continued to push for inclusion of this mention. Despite his declining health, Pope John Paul traveled to Switzerland in June and in August made his second pilgrimage to the shrine at Lourdes, France.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2004

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2003 est.): 900
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      On Oct. 16, 2003, 83-year-old Pope John Paul II celebrated the 25th anniversary of his papacy. Age and infirmity caused the press to speculate that he might step down soon, but the pope pledged to carry on through his lifelong term, and he continued to make pastoral visits. His journey to Croatia in June was his 100th visit outside Italian borders. During his pontificate the pope had seen the number of Roman Catholics increase from 775 million to more than 1 billion. In addition, the number of ordained priests was also rising.

      The greatest rise in the number of Roman Catholics was in Africa. In addition to contributing directly to health care and education in some of Africa's poorest countries, the Vatican had lobbied successfully so that lifesaving pharmaceutical products could be made available to the world's poor at a low cost. This initiative was particularly beneficial to many African nations. The smallest percentage of the faithful were found in Asia, an area in which the Vatican continued to show a keen interest; during the year the pope appointed the first bishop ever to Mongolia. In Europe the Roman Catholic population in terms of percentages continued to decline. The long wave of secularization prompted the Vatican to push for the European Union to mention the Christian roots of Europe in the future EU constitution. The Roman Catholic Church was still very European, and though the College of Cardinals had experienced progressive internationalization from the 1960s onward, it was still dominated by Europeans. Indeed, many observers speculated that the next pope would be Italian, just as the majority of others had been.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2003

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2002 est.): 900
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      On Jan. 24, 2002, Pope John Paul II, joined by more than 200 religious leaders representing Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and traditional African religions, gathered in Assisi, Italy, for a day of prayer denouncing violence and terror perpetrated under any auspices, especially in the name of religion. In an effort to reaffirm its role as the universal defender of human dignity, the Vatican summoned all the tools required, including the Internet, to disseminate its message of peace. The value of modern telecommunications technology in facilitating the Vatican's apostolic mission was witnessed when the aging pontiff, in his 24th year of office, made his first virtual visit to Moscow to pray the rosary with the Roman Catholic faithful.

      On a more explicitly political front, the restructuring of the Roman Church in Russia occupied a prominent position in the year's activities, although Vatican officials were quick to point out that this was hardly the case of converting the Orthodox faithful to Catholicism but rather a case of restoring the Roman Church to the status it occupied in the precommunist era. (See also Religion and World Affairs: Russia .)

      The pope offered words of exhortation to the Argentine faithful beset by mighty economic woes, reminding them that the way to economic recovery should start with the cultivation of moral values. On November 14 Pope John Paul II addressed the Italian Parliament, the first time a pontiff had done so, and urged a continuing important role for Christianity in the European Union. The modernity of the church's position was expressed in its various calls for sustainable economic development, declaring that human beings had a God-given “ecological vocation.”

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2002

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2001 est.): 900
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      The year 2001 was important in terms of the octogenarian pontiff's desire to strengthen the Vatican's pastoral mission around the globe. Pope John Paul II visited areas of the world that had long viewed the Roman Catholic Church's activities with suspicion, if not open hostility. The pope followed in the footsteps of Saint Paul, traveling to Malta, Greece, and Damascus. He also went to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, making pastoral visits to Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The personal courage involved in undertaking the latter visit was astounding, considering that the trip was completed only days before the U.S. began its bombing in nearby Afghanistan. As with all of his pastoral visits, the aim was to strengthen the Vatican's role as a major player in global affairs. One of the chief areas of resistance in this process was China, and it was remarkable that China manifested an open attitude during the year toward the possibility of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican after a rupture that had lasted 50 years. A low point in relations between China and the Vatican had been reached in 2000 when the pope canonized 120 Chinese martyrs to communism on the same day as China's national holiday. The pope hoped to strengthen ties with the estimated 10 million Catholics who lived in the world's most populous country. Consistent with the Vatican's mission of bringing peace to the world, the pope expressed horror at the many atrocities committed throughout the globe in 2001, and Vatican officials reiterated the urge for rich nations to devote more attention to the problem of poverty, encouraging steps such as abolishing the debt of poor countries and providing mechanisms to ensure that all nations could derive benefits from the global market.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2001

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(2000 est.): 800
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      Nowhere was the universality of the Roman Catholic Church's mission more evident in 2000 than in the Jubilee of Cardinals and Bishops, which brought more than 1,000 of the church's highest prelates to the city of Rome.

      Pope John Paul II continued to add to his impressive record as a canonizer, including more than 100 martyrs of China among those elevated to sainthood. This embarrassed Chinese government officials, who had been known to resist the church's proselytizing efforts in their country. His beatification of Pius IX, the declaredly antimodernist pope, was also greeted with controversy in some quarters.

      The greatest event of the year, certainly from the numerical standpoint, was World Youth Day, which attracted well over two million young people to Rome for a six-day celebration. This massive gathering was successfully accommodated, even though the visitors exceeded by three times the receptive capacity of the city. Tremendous preparation was required for this result, including the revamping of major parts of Rome.

      While the Jubilee absorbed most of the pope's energies, he continued to find time to address world concerns and pressed for a settlement of the dispute over Jerusalem that would defend all the faiths involved. His concern with the Middle East was also reflected in an apostolic visit to the Holy Land. In December Israel objected to the pontiff's meeting with far-right Austrian politician Jörg Haider, who presented the pope with a towering Christmas tree from Carinthia.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 2000

Area:
44 ha (109 ac)
Population
(1999 est.): 750
Chief of state:
(sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II
Head of administration:
Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      The year 1999 was one of final preparation for an enormous flood of pilgrims expected to celebrate the millennial Jubilee of 2000, a spiritual interlude established by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300. Reconstruction projects in Vatican City included restoration of the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica, which was unveiled in early autumn.

      Pope John Paul II was very active during the year promoting peace and harmony throughout the world. He visited Mexico and the United States in January and returned to Poland, his homeland, in June. On the Kosovo issue he spoke of the need to promote a peace that was respectful of diversity yet rooted in a common concern for fundamental liberties. During the pope's visit to Romania in May, his first apostolate to a major Orthodox country, he celebrated the Eucharist in the presence of Patriarch Teoctist of the Romanian Orthodox Church. This encounter was of historic importance in the Vatican's effort to reconcile differences that had separated Roman Catholics from the Orthodox faithful almost 1,000 years earlier. Ironically, it was thought that this overture could eventually lead to a decline in the hierarchical importance of the pope vis-à-vis the Orthodox patriarchs, who had enjoyed religious autonomy since early Christian times.

      Among several elevations toward sainthood during the year, the most controversial was the beatification of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a much beloved southern Italian Capuchin monk who died in 1968. Padre Pio was a stigmatic (that is, he reputedly bore the wounds Jesus suffered on the cross) and had at one time been forbidden to celebrate mass publicly. The ceremony of beatification in May attracted about 200,000 faithful.

Gregory O. Smith

▪ 1999

      Area: 44 ha (109 ac)

      Population (1998 est.): 850

      Chief of state: (sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II

      Head of administration: Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      In 1998 Karol Wojtyla celebrated the 20th anniversary of his papacy. It was an eventful year in terms of the pope's aim to establish the Vatican as a key player in international affairs, as evidenced by his epochal journey to Cuba. This five-day sojourn was perhaps as influential as the pope's 1979 pastoral visit to then-communist Poland or his more recent visits to Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Asia and most of the Middle East, however, continued to resist the 78-year-old pontiff's new evangelizing efforts. Important steps were taken to open the way to a more active role for the Vatican in these parts of the world; audiences were granted to Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin and to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The Vatican also held its fourth continental synod. Devoted to Asia, the synod brought together bishops from all over the Orient with the exception of China. The status of Jerusalem was also discussed during the synod.

      Pope John Paul II created 22 new cardinals; since his 1978 rise to office, he had appointed 106 of the current 123 cardinals.

GREGORY O. SMITH
      See also Roman Catholic Church. (Religion )

▪ 1998

      Area: 44 ha (109 ac)

      Population (1997 est.): 850

      Chief of state: (sovereign pontiff) Pope John Paul II

      Head of administration: Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, who heads a pontifical commission of five cardinals

      Pope John Paul II spent 1997 on a tireless campaign to promote his ecumenical vision of the Vatican in the new millennium. On the Italian front, the pope personally distributed copies of St. Mark's Gospel, which 12,000 volunteer missionaries planned to continue to distribute to the Roman Catholic faithful until the church's millennial Jubilee in 2000.

      During the year the pope made apostolic visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Lebanon, Poland, and Brazil. His visit to Lebanon was his first and culminated in the concelebration of the Eucharist with a crowd of nearly half a million people, including a strong gathering of Muslims. The tour of his native Poland on May 31-June 10 was the longest of the pope's sojourns. A papal visit to Cuba in January 1998 was also announced.

      The most serious diplomatic setback for the Vatican in 1997 was the last-minute decision by Russian Patriarch Aleksey II to cancel a planned meeting with the pope in Austria. This decision was clarified in a strongly worded statement that decried the Vatican's alleged excesses in evangelizing among the Orthodox faithful in countries of the former Soviet Union.

GREGORY O. SMITH

      See also RELIGION: Roman Catholic Church.

      This article updates Vatican City.

▪ 1997

      The independent sovereignty of Vatican City State is surrounded by but is not part of Rome. As a state with territorial limits, it is properly distinguished from the Holy See, which constitutes the worldwide administrative and legislative body for the Roman Catholic Church. Area: 44 ha (109 ac). Pop. (1996 est.): 850. As sovereign pontiff, John Paul II is the chief of state. Vatican City is administered by a pontifical commission of five cardinals headed by the secretary of state, in 1996 Angelo Cardinal Sodano.

      News of the increasing numbers of Roman Catholic priests after more than 20 years of decline made 1996 a positive year for the Vatican City State. The finances of the Vatican also improved, which allowed Pope John Paul II a freer hand in conducting his worldwide apostolic mission.

      The pope was active in pastoral visits to many parts of the world. In El Salvador he recalled the Vatican's role in helping to bring peace to that troubled country and stressed the Holy See's commitment to the socially disadvantaged.

      (GREGORY O. SMITH)

      See also Roman Catholic Church (Religion ).

      This article updates Vatican City.

▪ 1996

      The independent sovereignty of Vatican City State is surrounded by but is not part of Rome. As a state with territorial limits, it is properly distinguished from the Holy See, which constitutes the worldwide administrative and legislative body for the Roman Catholic Church. Area: 44 ha (109 ac). Pop. (1995 est.): 1,000. As sovereign pontiff, John Paul II is the chief of state. Vatican City is administered by a pontifical commission of five cardinals headed by the secretary of state, in 1995 Angelo Cardinal Sodano.

      The year 1995 began with a powerful expression of support for Pope John Paul II during his visit to the Philippines, where half a million faithful gathered for mass with the Holy Father. This titanic display of sympathy belied troubled relations with Asia's largest Roman Catholic country, which had implemented family-planning methods that were in contrast with the teachings of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

      Concern for moral issues punctuated the entire year, and even at home the Holy See felt compelled to require that its 1,350 lay employees endorse a code allowing them to be sacked for such moral lapses as abortion and divorce. Another doctrinal issue was the ordination of women, on which the pope's ban was reasserted.

      The Vatican maintained a high profile in world affairs, including visits by the pope to the U.S., Sri Lanka, Slovakia, and a host of other countries. After the slaying of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (see OBITUARIES (Rabin, Yitzhak )) in November, the pontiff received Rabin's widow, as well as the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in order to discuss problems for peace in the Middle East.

      It was another positive financial year for the Holy See, which continued the recent trend of operating in the black after years of budgetary worries. (GREGORY O. SMITH)

      See also Roman Catholic Church (Religion ).

      This updates the article Vatican City.

▪ 1995

      The independent sovereignty of Vatican City State is surrounded by but is not part of Rome. As a state with territorial limits, it is properly distinguished from the Holy See, which constitutes the worldwide administrative and legislative body for the Roman Catholic Church. Area: 44 ha (109 ac). Pop. (1994 est.): 1,000. As sovereign pontiff, John Paul II is the chief of state. Vatican City is administered by a pontifical commission of five cardinals headed by the secretary of state, in 1994 Angelo Cardinal Sodano.

      The intense round of activities required by international and domestic commitments placed heavy demands on the chief of state, Pope John Paul II, in 1994, especially after a fall in April incapacitated the pontiff for some weeks.

      The Holy See reported that the previous financial year had closed with an income surplus, reversing the previous negative trend. This welcome achievement was attained in spite of continued expenditures of well over $1 million to aid the victims of human violence and natural disasters.

      In January the pope received the mayor of Rome to discuss the Jubilee scheduled for the year 2000. Later he met with the provincial authorities of Rome and urged that they devote more attention to the housing needs of the urban poor. Farther afield, the Vatican City State continued its determined participation in world events, forging historic diplomatic ties with Israel, Jordan, and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The pontiff also received many international visitors, including Czech Pres. Vaclav Havel and U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton. The pope's only visit out of Italy during the year was a first-ever journey to Croatia for the Zagreb diocese's 900th anniversary; during the stay he addressed a crowd of almost a million and prayed for peace in the Balkans. (GREGORY O. SMITH)

      See also Roman Catholic Church (Religion ).

      This updates the article Vatican City.

▪ 1994

      The independent sovereignty of Vatican City State is surrounded by but is not part of Rome. As a state with territorial limits, it is properly distinguished from the Holy See, which constitutes the worldwide administrative and legislative body for the Roman Catholic Church. Area: 44 ha (109 ac). Pop. (1993 est.): 1,800. As sovereign pontiff, John Paul II is the chief of state. Vatican City is administered by a pontifical commission of five cardinals headed by the secretary of state, in 1993 Angelo Cardinal Sodano.

      In 1993, a year dominated by international activity, Pope John Paul II's first-ever visit to Albania highlighted Vatican diplomacy. During the spring visit, the pope ordained four Albanian bishops in an effort to strengthen the church's pastoral role in a country that had long regarded the church with hostility.

      The Vatican expressed concern for the troubled Balkans by repeatedly calling for an end to hostilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and by making a substantial donation to the UN secretary-general for the support of Bosnian refugees. The president of Slovenia also visited the Vatican.

      As part of his apostolic mission, the pope made his 10th visit to Africa and toured in Benin, Uganda, and The Sudan. In August he made brief visits to Jamaica and Mexico en route to Denver, Colo., where he met with U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton and joined some 400,000 celebrants at the World Youth Day festivities.

      Bishops from as far away as Madagascar and Papua New Guinea visited the Vatican, and many distinguished visitors, including the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Jerusalem's Ashkenazi chief rabbi were received by the pontiff. In September the Vatican sent a representative to Beijing (Peking) to attend the Chinese National Athletic Games. Roger Cardinal Etchegaray was the highest-ranking church official to visit China since 1949. In Jerusalem on December 30, after 17 months of negotiations, Israel and the Vatican signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations, although some of the legal details still had to be worked out.

      On the domestic front the Vatican was assailed by an increasing deficit, which was exacerbated by the need to finance a newly created pension fund for some 2,000 Vatican lay employees. In October the Holy See agreed to help Milan magistrates determine if the Vatican bank had been used to disguise bribes to Italian officials. In November the 73-year-old pope fell during a Vatican audience and suffered a fractured shoulder joint and a dislocated shoulder. (GREGORY O. SMITH)

      See also Roman Catholic Church (Religion ).

      This updates the article Vatican City.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

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