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Official name, Stato della Città del Vaticano. It is the territorial see of the Papacy, determined by the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Situated within the geopraphic boundary of Rome, it covers an area of 108.7 acres and includes the Vatican Palace, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican Radio Station, and numerous other buildings that serve the Pope and the administration of the universal Church. Ultimate authority for Vatican City is vested in the Pope but actually administered by the Pontifical Commission for the State of the Vatican City. In generaly, the government is based on canon law or, where this does not apply, on existing laws of the city of Rome. It is politically a neutral state and enjoys all the privileges and duties of a sovereign power. The Papal Secretariat maintains diplomatic relations with other nations. Only the citizens of Vatican City owe allegiance to the Pope as temporal ruler.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.