Why isn't the Vatican a member of the UN?

Is there a particular reason why the Vatican isn’t a member of the United Nations? Membership would fit in with the Pope’s job title.

At one time, the Pope did exercise direct control of large portions of Italy, the same as any other Italian prince or ruler. This direct governmental control has passed away. The Vatican now represents a religion, not a state. There is a small physical territory ruled by the vatican, but it is nothing compared to what had once been in the Papal States. The Vatican has the structure and something of the recognition of a state, but this is to prevent it from being seen as under the influence or control of the Italian government.

Remember there’s the Holy See (which has existed for millenia and conducts diplomatic relations) and the State of Vatican City (which was created in 1929 via a treaty between Italy and the Pope). The Pope has the secular title of Sovereign of the State of Vatican City.

The Vatican is not a member of the UN, but the Holy See has permanent observer status in the United Nations, and is entitled to all the privledges of membership except voting. My understanding is that the no-voting clause is by the See’s own request.

I think that answers it. Thank you.

I think the idea is that the Holy See doesn’t want to get too involved in secular or temporal affairs. The Vatican’s responsibilities lie higher than this Earth.

No… the vatican’s responsibility is this Earth. What the hell is the point of the Church if not to steer mankind? Win conversions?

The neutrality stance is a cop-out. They just figure their private interests are better served if they don’t make any enemies.

But whatever, as if any issue, especially one of war, can be decided a priori from the Bible.

No, the Vatican is a sovereign state in every sense of the word. It’s just that the Vatican does not maintain diplomatic relations - the Holy See does. The Holy See, the supreme authority of the Roman Catholic Church, is a subject of public international law although it’s not a state (there are a few other entities that are not states but are generally recognized as subjects of international law, for example the International Committee of the Red Cross of the Maltese Order). The Holy See maintained diplomatic relations with many other countries long before the Vatican as we know it today was established as a state in 1929.

I guess that this parallelity between the Vatican State and the Holy See is the reason why the Vatican is not a member of the UN - it’s the Holy See that is diplomatically active, but the Holy See cannot become a full member because it’s not a state.

The mission of th Church, and the only reason it exists in this world, is to guide mankind towards God. It does (or at least, attempts to do in the blind and half-conscious way people do everything) what it needs to complete that work. Viting in the U.N. is not really part of that, and it would probably cause problems in its other work.

For instance, let’s say that China decided that it didn’t like the way the vatican voted on the subject of international widget standards (or whatever). BAM Round up all he Catholics in China and dump them in a camp. Might not be bad for the Catholic’s souls, but not very helpful to anyone. And if anything, the world would be worse off since the leaders of Chian just commiteed a huge sin.

Aside from that, it’s not like the U.N. General Assembly ever did anything worth doing.

I’m confused; I thought the Holy See was simply the government of the Vatican City, sort of like how there are no “ambassadors to the United Kingdom,” but instead “ambassadors to the Court of St. James.”

The Holy See is the Papal authority. There has not always been a Vatican City or equivalent, but there has always (since Peter) been a pope, and hence a Holy See. The Holy See does act as the government of the Vatican, now that the Vatican exists, but that is not its defining characteristic.

Where law meets Catholocism, things are bound to get really baroque! :wink:

Ahhhhhhhhh. So I was a little right - the Holy See is the Vatican government, but it’s more like the Vatican is the Holy See’s territory.

When exactly did that policy start? I’m trying to think of a point in the Church’s history when it wasn’t actively involved in secular and temporal affairs and, not coming up with anything.

It’s not so much that the Church doesn’t want to get involved with temporal or secular affairs (as long as the temporal and secular exists, we have an obligation to do our best by it) as it doesn’t want to get involved in politics. That is, pushing for one side or another is one thing; getting involved in the horse-trading and self-conscious political decisions of national govenrments another. Had quite enough of that during the quasi-anarchic Middle Ages.

Apparently not, as the Vatican and the church hierarchy has been bringing all of its pressure to bear upon various national governments (particularly Canada and Spain) regarding same-sex marriage, to the point of threatening to excommunicate or actually excommunicating individual politicians for voting in favour of SSM.

As if the Catholic Church depended upon the Bible for 100% of its teachings! Fans of Biblical Inerrancy should check out the Southern Baptist Convention.

(As if the Catholic Church didn’t have any enemies!)