The Holy See, from the Latin Sancta Sedes, Holy Chair, is the see of the Pope, the bishop of Rome. It is the central government of the Catholic Church (The authority, jurisdiction, and governmental functions associated with the papacy).
The Pope governs the Catholic Church through the Roman Curia. The Holy See maintains formal diplomatic relations with 175 sovereign states, the European Union, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Also there are special relations with Russian Federation, (Mission with an Ambassador) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), (Office with a Director).
The Holy See is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It participates also in various International Intergovernmental Organizations and Bodies, and in various Regional Intergovernmental Organizations and Bodies.
Among others The Holy See is also a permanent observer of the following groups:
United Nations (UN)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
World Trade Organization (WTO)
The Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is considered to be where the Pope is, with the Chancery, Tribunals, and officials whom he employs in the Government of the Catholic Church.
In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors. CHRISTUS DOMINUS, 9. 
The Roman Curia includes the Secretariat of State, nine Congregations, three Tribunals, 11 Pontifical Councils, and other main offices.
One of the major Curial institutions is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees Catholic church doctrine.
The papal garrison
The visitors to Rome, who pose for a photograph in front of the Swiss soldiers on guard at the gates of Vatican City, are familiar with the history of these troops who take an oath of loyalty to the Pope. The Swiss Guards' official date of birth is January 22nd, 1506.
Every day they are engaged in mounting guard at the entrances to the Apostolic Palace and in the Sistine Chapel. However, the most important meeting is the one which takes place in the Vatican every year on May 6th, on the occasion of the "Swearing in" of the new recruits.
- VATICAN CITY
- Holy See Catholic Encyclopedia.
- Vatican Museums Online
- The Vatican State Italian web site.
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