|Christ died so we could write articles on|
“”The Vatican is the last real absolute theocracy in the world and it is very difficult to know why we ( the UK) are, as a government, consulting them on internal policy,
|—Terry Sanderson, president of the UK National Secular Society|
The Vatican or more properly Vatican City (Stato della Città del Vaticano) is the world's smallest sovereign state, measuring 1.05 kilometres (0.6 mi) long and .85 kilometres (0.5 mi) wide. It is the center of the Roman Catholic Church and currently the world's only Christian theocracy. Latin is the official language. Nota bene.
In 1965, Time Magazine reported that the Vatican had assets worth in excess of $10 billion, or ($73 billion inflated to 2013 values ), including $1.6 billion in shares of stock, or 15% of the value of all shares listed on the Italian stock exchange at the time. It is unclear what percentage of those assets was held directly by the Holy See itself and the so-called Vatican Bank, or Institute for Works of Religion (IOR). The IOR is charged with providing for the "custody and management of ... property ... intended for works of religion or charity."
In 2013, MSN, reported that the Vatican itself holds in excess of $1.8 billion in assets, while the IOR holds in excess of $7.6 billion in assets.
The Vatican also has a staggering collection of world-class artistic treasures, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.
The Vatican was created as a land-locked sovereign state by the Lateran Treaty of 1929. There had previously been Papal States run by the Pope, which included a large tract of the Italian peninsula, but these were absorbed into the new Italy by 1870.
 The "Holy See" and international law
The Holy See is a distinct entity and not synonymous with the tiny Vatican City "state". It comprises the Diocese of Rome, or simply the leadership of the Catholic Church, with the Pope at the top. The distinction between the two bodies is the source of considerable confusion regarding the Vatican's status as a subject of international law: while the Vatican city has a territory and citizens, the traditional attributes of a sovereign state, it is the Holy See which actually maintains international relations and is represented at the UN as a permanent observer with voting rights.
 Unusual crime statistics
Due to the number of tourists visiting the Vatican and its small permanent population of 800 or so, its crime rate has the bizarre attribute of being 133% of its population. It has the distinction of boasting the world's highest concentration of resident Popes, with an average papal density of almost six per square mile (This will soon rise to nearly twelve, six active and six retired). 
 See also
- ↑ Culture War' over Militant Secularism
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ "Scopo dell'Istituto è di provvedere alla custodia e all'amministrazione dei beni mobili ed immobili trasferiti o affidati all'Istituto medesimo da persone fisiche o giuridiche e destinati ad opere di religione o di carità."
- ↑ 
- ↑ UN: Non-member States and Entities
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City#Crime
- ↑ Vatican City has an area of 0.17 square miles, and one/two resident popes. Hence, 1/0.17 = 5.8 popes/square mile, on average.