VATICAN CITY Constitution, Government and Legislation

The Pope exercises supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the Holy See and the State of the Vatican City. The term “Holy See” refers to the composite of the authority, jurisdiction, and sovereignty vested in the Pope and his advisers to direct the worldwide Roman Catholic Church.

As the “central government” of the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy See has a legal personality that allows it to enter into treaties as the juridical equal of a state and to send and receive diplomatic representatives.

Created in 1929 to administer properties belonging to the Holy See in Rome, the State of the Vatican City is recognized under international law and enters into international agreements. Unlike the Holy See, it does not receive or send diplomatic representatives.

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