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Fascinating facts from a Vatican yearbook

August 27, 2012

L’Espresso provides a fascinating glimpse at a publication that few Catholics will ever see: the hefty account of “activity of the Holy See”—which, although technically “unofficial,” is published by the Secretariat of State.

The annual volume provides an enormous number of facts, ranging from trivial to highly significant. Thus, for example, last year:

  • The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith handled 440 cases of delicta graviora--the most serious canonical discipline cases—of which 404 involved clerical abuse of a minor.
  • The Roman Rota issued final judgments in 179 annulment cases, and in a slim majority (94 cases) ruled against annulment.
  • The Vatican city-state counted 594 citizens, while 238 citizens of other countries resided in the Vatican.
  • The Vatican gendarmerie issued 96 traffic citations, but more importantly announced that the once-common phenomenon of pickpocket activity had been “stamped out” inside the Vatican.
  • The Vatican Museums entered the rare group of such institutions welcoming more than 5 million visitors in a year.
  • Vatican workers struggled successfully to combat a massive incursion of porcupines in some Roman catacombs, and a red-weevil infestation in palm trees outside the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.


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