Informations and abstract
Keywords: Holy See; State of the Vatican City; Catholic Church; International Subjectivity; Subjects of International Law; Non-State Subjects.
The present contribution aims at analyzing the issue of the subjectivity of the Holy See under international law in the light of the most recent developments and of its growing international activity. Although at the centre of a wide debate in legal doctrine, the nature of the Holy See as a member of the International community and its relationship with the Vatican City State and the Catholic Church still raise a number of relevant questions for the international legal order. First of all, the article presents the various doctrinal positions on the matter, trying to identify, from a theoretical perspective, the applicable legal framework. It then analyses the practice of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State in the domain of international relations, in particular taking into account the treaty-making power exercised by both of them. The third part is devoted to contextualising some recent developments on the role of the Holy See on the international scene, also giving a brief account of States practice related to the issue of immunity. In the final section, conclusions are drawn upon the previous analysis in order to construe the status of the Holy See under international law and to define its role in a community of States.