Secretary for Relations with States

Secretary for Relations with States

The Secretary for Relations with States is the foreign minister of the Holy See, an official serving within the Secretariat of State and presiding over its "Section for Relations with States." This archbishop deals with relations between the Holy See and other governments and international bodies and is assisted by a deputy called the Undersecretary for Relations with States.

History of the office

This Section began as the Congregation Super Negotiis Ecclesiasticis Regni Galliarum, set up by Pope Pius VI with the "Constitution Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum" of 28 May 1793, in order to deal with the problems which the French Revolution posed for the Church. In 1814, Pope Pius VII gave this office responsibility for the entire world and named it Congregatio Extraordinaria Praeposita Negotiis Ecclesiasticis Orbis Catholici. Some years later, Pope Leo XII changed its name to Congregatio Pro Negotiis Ecclesiasticis Extraordinariis, which remained its title until 1967 when Pope Paul VI separated this body from the Secretariat of State, calling it the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. On 28 June 1988, Pope John Paul II promulgated the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", which created the present incarnation of the Secretariat of State. It was divided into the Section for General Affairs and the Section for Relations with States, which was the direct successor of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church.

On the basis of Articles 45-47 of "Pastor Bonus", the Section for Relations with States, sometimes known as the second section of the Secretariat, has the specific duty of attending to matters which involve civil governments. It has responsibility for the Holy See’s diplomatic relations with sovereign states including such matters as the establishment of Concordats or similar agreements; the Holy See’s presence in international organizations and conferences; the provision and modification, in special circumstances, of appointments to particular churches; and, in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops, the appointment of Bishops in countries which have entered into treaties or agreements with the Holy See.

This section is headed by an Archbishop, the Secretary for Relations with States, who aided by a Prelate, the Undersecretary for Relations with States and various Cardinals and Bishops.

List of Secretaries for Relations with States

List of Undersecretaries for Relations with States

External links

* [ Vatican site]

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