Thursday, October 29, 2015

Residents at the Vatican

Millions of citizens of countries from all over the world enter Vatican territory every year to visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica or catch a glimpse of the Pope on a Sunday in St. Peter's Square. But only a select 572 souls can claim citizenship of the Vatican itself. Those are the ones carrying what is probably the most exclusive ID card in the world, issued by the Vatican City State. And of that rarefied group, only 32 are women. These facts and figures accompanied copies of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's new regulations for citizenship, residency and access to areas not open to the general public. The new recent Papal laws updated the old rules written in 1929 under the treaty with Italy known as the Lateran Pact. Under the old regulations, residents were obliged to accept citizenship; now some people, such as spouses of employees, can opt out of Vatican citizenship. Who are the citizens of the Vatican? The Pope, naturally, and 73 cardinals who live within the walls or in Rome; 306 members of the papal diplomatic corps; 49 priests and religious brothers; one nun; 86 Swiss Guards; and 25 laymen and 31 laywomen, most of whom are Vatican employees, along with their spouses and children.

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