Holy Vatican See

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This article deals with Holy Vatican See as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.

Holy Vatican See
Flag of Holy Vatican See
Motto: "Pactum Serva"
map of the Vatican
Region Lateran Treaty
Capital The Vatican City
Official Language(s) Latin
Leader Leo XIV
Population 1.5 billion
Currency Euro 
NS Sunset XML

The Holy See refers to the episcopal see of Rome, where the Pope offically resides; it can also mean the Pope or the Roman Curia. The term "Holy See" generally refers to the Pope, the Pope's official bureaucracy in the Vatican, Vatican City itself, or all of the above.

One of the more perplexing issues among Roman Catholic NS players is just who is the Pope of the NationStates world. Several players have played the Vatican. Prominent among them is Holy Vatican See (HVS), who RPs an alternate universe in which John Paul II died in 1998, replaced by a Hungarian named Sixtus VI, and then replaced by the current Pope Leo.

While many NS nations accept HVS as the Vatican of the NS world, HVS's players himselves has stated several times that no one is required to accept them as such. Nations such as Syskeyia and Cherry Ridge RP with the RL pontiff, Benedict XVI, as the pope, and Pantocratoria has accepted HVS' "papacy," but is willing to RP with countries that accept Benedict XVI.

There is also a Sede vacante where the Conclave is formed, in order to elect the next pontiff.

'Holy Vatican See'

Introduction and Caveat

We do not demand to be "THE ONLY" Catholic Church for all the multivers' of NS--there are players who prefer to relate to other "Catholic Churches" and that is fine.

However, if players DO choose to recognize HVS as "The Church" we'll expect you to act the way you would to the Church. We're willing to be somewhat fluid about how players recognizing this Church interact with nations recognizing other "Catholic Churches," as long as it doesn't pose too much anomaly in the role play.

This is the Holy Catholic Church as founded by Peter upon the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, with an unbroken Apostolic Succession from Peter through the current Pope, Leo XIV, elected in Conclave by Cardinals from various NS players in April of 2004 RL time. The structure and lines of authority mimic (as far as possible) that of the RL Church.

We intend to play this nation very much the way the RL Church operates. You don't see the RL Church handing out reams of ex Cathedra pronouncements, declaring Crusades and Inquisitions, loudly excommunicating or anathematizing scores of people, etc. On the other hand, you DO see the Church simply refusing to recognize or lend its sanction to the more bizarro manifestations and perversions of doctrine, quietly slapping an internal gag on the more wacko advocates of extremist interpretations of doctrine, etc.

This Church will continue to tread the same line the RL Church is treading between the various factions within militating for liberalization or returns to more conservative interpretations, between the church's internal spiritual responsibilities and the external temporal moral leadership required to actualize our Faith. We can see many interesting opportunities for internal/external politics creating fascinating RPs and taking the future development of the church in some surprising directions, but those directions will proceed in a natural flow from real doctrine as influenced by the RP'd events.

The RL Church studiously avoids intervention into the politics of sovereign nations, and so will this Church. That is not to say that we won't exhort the Faithful to act within the appropriate temporal parameters of their nation's politics to actualize the Christian principles of Faith, but it will be couched as the RL Church couches such exhortation-- that individual Catholics, acting lawfully as citizens of their nations, follow the dictates of their consciences and the teachings of the Church in political affairs.

As regards overtly Catholic nations, this Church will, again, interact with them the way the RL Church interacts with RL Catholic nations-- that is, they will not meddle overtly with political affairs, and will exert the influence of the Church through assisting the individuals who profess our Faith with spiritual, rather than temporal, guidance. (You don't see the RL Holy Father excommunicating the entire political leadership of Ireland just because they finally got around to recognizing civil divorce, do you?)

In short, the RL Church is a spiritual, rather than a temporal, authority, and this Church will be played on that same assumption. The only temporal authority we assume is over the precincts of the Holy Vatican See and the established Institutions of the Church.

And no, there IS NO INQUISITION, and this Church will not recognize any such institution as valid. Questions of doctrine, interpretation, etc. should be submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will reprove doctrines opposed to the principles of the faith after the interested Bishops of a region have been heard.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also examines whatever concerns "the privilege of the faith" whether in law and in fact. It is competent to pass judgement on errors about the faith according to the norms of an ordinary process. It safeguards the dignity of the sacrament of Penance. It will proceed administratively or judicially according to the nature of the question to be treated, with the usual level of deliberation. (Meaning, not by tomorrow afternoon at 3:00, that's for sure. What's an aeon or two to an Eternal Church?)

So please, if you're RPing some version of Catholicism that involves fire-breathing Inquisitors hiding under every bed and torturing unbelievers, holding public burnings or shrieking witch hunts over the airwaves, remain in some other multiverse unless you want your Church to be an acknowledged separate "Catholic Church" outside the Communion, such as the Coptic Church, the Anglican Communion, etc.

On the other hand, if you're well within current RL doctrine with just a few minor twists, you may want to establish the Church of your nation within the Communion as a "Variant Church" with its own name, similar to the Churches of Oriental Rite in RL. In fact, we are renaming the RL Church's Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and calling it the Congregation for the Variant Churches. Please consult by TG to discuss this, and do your homework--Google around a little to see how the Oriental Churches relate to the Latin Rite Church, how their Liturgies work, etc. Have a realistic plan.

History and Events

Major Threads: Descriptions and Links

Active Threads:

"A New Order Rising in the Excalbian Isles" The Confederated Sovereign States election results are a surprise to everyone, especially when it becomes clear that Knootian members of the Order of the Invisible Hand have been working with CSS politicians to change the balance of power in the Isles. Holy Vatican See's involvement begins on 24.

"That's The Way It Is" In Zero-One space, an anomalous entity resulting from a scientific experiment on the dying consciousness of a Catholic cleric explores the Matrix.

"Species and Spirituality" The Vatican finally gets around to calling a Conference to discuss the Church's relations with non-human sentient species, continuing the unfinished business of Sixtus VI's first Council on Non-Human Relations, which broke up in chaos.

Ongoing Threads:

"Returning Home" Scolopendran Catholics reunite with the Mother Church, and a Vatican Legation is established in the Segments.

"Dominion Legate: A New Shepherd for the Flock" The Vatican restores full diplomatic relations with the Dominion. What happens when a Church headed by Sicilian Pope matches wits with Dominion power.

"A New Third Order: Special Envoy to Pantocratoria" Leo XIV taps the Emperor Andreus of Pantocratoria to start a potential lay order of Catholic heads of state and heads of government, to maintain their spiritual welfare and advance the Church's ideals of human rights and social justice. This thread is currently inactive, but may be revived soon.

"The Secretariat of State of the Holy Vatican See" This thread exists for the purpose of 'official correspondence' with the Holy See. Requests to initiate diplomatic relations, etc., should be directed here (and a TG alerting the Collective to a posting doesn't hurt if a day or two goes by without a response from us.)


The Spacetime Fracture and Multiversal Shifts

As mentioned above, the history of the Holy Vatican See (Nationstates) is precisely contiguous with that of the RL Church up through 1998 CE. Sometime around then (Vatican scientists have not been able to pinpoint it, for obvious reasons,) a fracture in the spacetime continuum occurred; the multiverses heaved, and the timeline for HVS/NS diverged from the RL meatworld as most of us know it today.

HVS/NS was unaware of the fracture, at first. In our multiverse, things proceeded much as usual, and Pope John Paul II contracted a bad case of pneumonia and died on April 9th, 1998. He was replaced in a full and proper Conclave by Cardinal Erval Mralina, who took the name Sixtus, the sixth of that name. Shortly thereafter things became a little odd. However, due to the nature of the spacetime fracture, strange phenomena of memory and perception were integrated into the overall changes, which meant that the "oddness" was accepted as a perfectly ordinary matter of fact.

During the subsequent couple of decades, much technology advances (at strangely varying rates,) spacegoing nations appeared/disappeared/reappeared, and the eldar races were brought to the attention of the Vatican. A Council was held to discuss the Church's relations with eldar races, but it broke up in chaos. However, it did enough work for Sixtus to issue the Encyclical "In Apostolatum Eldari", which has remained controversial.

Vatican scientists have also been working on ways to examine and classify the phenomenon of the multiverses, with only partial success. However, all HVS/NS characters are aware of multiversal nature of the spacetime continuum, and accept without question memories "acquired" as the multiverses shift.

Recent History: The Election of Leo XIV The recent history of the Holy Vatican See:

On his deathbed, Sixtus VI realizes that the chaotic events following the fracture have left the Church without sufficient leadership. He calls a Consistory to appoint new Cardinals:

"Sede Vacante: The Death of Pope Sixtus VI"

"Cardinals Gather for Sixtus VI's Final Consistory"

A Conclave is summoned, including the newly-made Cardinals. Murder, controversy, and theology mix as liberals and conservatives vie for control of the Church.

"The Papal Conclave Begins"

In the end, a compromise candidate is elected, a bureaucrat of the Curia whom, it is assumed, will not rock the boat. But even the first few eventful weeks of his Papacy show that Leo XIV is a man capable of delivering surprises:

"We Have a Pope!"

Current Events

The Vatican's current major priorities fall into several categories:

  • Sustaining and providing spiritual guidance to faithful Catholics everywhere
  • Engaging in the charitable works of mercy that embody the love and redemption of Christ
  • Providing moral leadership for peace, the advancement of virtue, and the promotion of economic and social justice
  • Expanding the Church's diplomatic capabilities to assist in these goals

Additional priorities include:

  • Exploring and establishing the physical, scientific, and metaphysical properties of the fractured multiverse
  • Resolving the many issues posed by the advent of extensive space travel and non-human sentience

Conference on Non-Human Sentience

The Church's most visible current initiative is the Conference on Non-human Sentience. The Conference gathers Catholic leaders, as well as a variety of non-Catholic human and non-human advisors and observers, to explore the issues confronting the Church. Conference information can be found at the Conference Website.

Power Among NS/HVS Catholics

The Hierarchy: Clergy and the Laity

The NS/Holy Vatican See retains all of the traditional roles and lines of authority prevalent in the RL Catholic Church today, with minor modifications based on the multiversal fracture and the slight differences in Variant (Oriental) Churches in the NS multiverse.

The Vatican Bureaucracy

The Pope cannot govern a huge and complicated institution like the Church. The various offices of the Vatican assist in carrying out the functions of the Papacy, the Church, and the Vatican city-state. Most of how the NS Vatican is organized closely parallels the current RL Vatican, although the names of some offices have been slightly changed, and a few relatively minor reorganizations have taken effect, most notably in Communications, Finance and Information functions.

The Papal Household and Offices

The Pope has several officers to assist in dealing with both the ecclesiastical and the administrative duties of his pastoral mission. Some of the principal offices and individuals include:

Private Secretary

This is the official who has the most to do with the Pope on a day-to-day basis. He keeps the Pope’s calendar and manages his appointments within the Vatican, deals with the Holy Father’s private correspondence, and acts as an executive assistant, managing the flow of business into and out of the Pontiff’s Apartment.

Prefecture of the Papal Household

This is the office that manages all of the business of the Pope’s household and supervises the pontifical family and the Pope’s chapel. It arranges Audiences and non-liturgical ceremonies. Principal officers include:

  • Papal Major Domo
  • Prefect of the Pontifical Household

Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Apostolic See

This is one of the offices re-organized during the Papacy of Sixtus VI. The Administration of the Patrimony and the supervision of the Vatican Bank were both folded into the Prefecture. This office handles all of the financial affairs of the Papacy except for those related to the civil administration (Governatorato) of the Vatican City. The Prefecture is directed by a Commission of three Cardinals, one of whom acts as President. The Commission is staffed by the ProPrefect. Principal officers include:

  • President of the Prefecture (member of the Commission for Economic Affairs)
  • Two additional members of the Commission for Economic Affairs
  • Pro-Prefect for Economic Affairs
  • President of the Vatican Bank
  • Pro-Prefect for Administration of the Patrimony

Apostolic Camera his is the office that handles the interregnum and the issues pertaining to the vacancy of the Holy See. Principal Officers include:

  • Camerlengo of the Church
  • Vice-Chamberlain
  • Prelates Chamberlain (these fulfill the functions of Marshals, Prefects, etc., during a Conclave.)

Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Holy See

This office was slightly reorganized under Sixtus VI and manages the preparations for sacred and liturgical ceremonies carried out by the Pope or celebrated in his name, as well as the administration of the sacred functions of the Basilica of St. Peter’s and the other Papal Churches: St. John Lateran, St. Paul, and St. Mary Major. Principal Officers include:

  • Master of Ceremonies
  • Sacristan of the Vatican
  • Archpriest of St. Peters
  • Archpriest of St. Pauls
  • Archpriest of St. Mary Maggiore

Office of Apostolic Communications

This office was one of two major reorganization projects of Sixtus VI’s Papacy. Offices for all of the Vatican’s media outlets, including the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio and Vatican TV were combined with other communications functions, including the Vatican’s online communications services. Principal Officers include:

  • President of the Office of Apostolic Communications
  • Managing Editor, Osservatore Romano
  • General Director, Vatican Radio
  • General Director, Vatican TV
  • Director of Internet Communications

Office of Information Management

This was the other major reorganization project under Sixtus VI. The Central Office of Statistics, some of the working Libraries, and various Archives were combined, and new functions pertaining to the management and maintenance of the Holy See’s information technology were added in the Technology Section. Principal Officers include:

  • President of the Office of Information Management
  • Director of Archives
  • Director of Libraries
  • Director of Technology Section

The Vatican City State

The Governatorato

In addition to these Administrative offices, there is the Governatorato, which fulfills the "civil government" functions of the Vatican City State, looking after matters as mundane as sewage management and as exalted as caring for the elaborate works of art and architecture that form so much of the Vatican's infrastructure.

The Vatican also has a railroad station, fire department, a post office (and an office that deals with nothing but stamps, medals, and other commemorative materials,) tourist information service, shipping service, and a store where citizens and employees can purchase all kinds of goods. All of these are administered by offices of the Governatorato. The Principal Officers include:

  • President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
  • Special Delegate for the Vatican City State
  • Secretary General for the Vatican City State


There are three security forces at the Vatican. The Noble Guard, also known as the Swiss Guard, is the traditional force of highly-trained Swiss mercenaries who provide personal security and act as bodyguard to the Pope. Although their dress uniforms are ancient and colorful, they are also a very modern force, and every recruit must meet the highest possible physical and moral standards.

There is also the Vigilanzi, which is the regular security force for the Vatican City State. Its two major divisions are Museum Security and Civil Security. Civil Security provides both ordinary police services for the City State (parking enforcement, dealing with pickpockets and others who prey on the numerous tourists who visit the Vatican, etc.,) and more abstruse security functions including screening sensitive employees and visitors, providing surveillance, personal security for Curial officials and distinguished guests, etc.

The Floreria

In addition to strictly liturgical celebrations, the Vatican undertakes a good many highly visible public events, ceremonies, celebrations, etc. The Floreria is the Vatican "production company," which handles all of the logistical and technical arrangements for such events. The Floreria also has responsibility for the furnishing of Vatican buildings and facilities.

The Curia

In addition to governing the Vatican City State, the Pope is the head of the Church, a vast, multiversal-wide institution that encompasses billions of Catholics. To assist in governing this most ancient of institutions, the Holy Father relies on the Curia, a group of offices, congregations, tribunals, educational institutions, and administrative facilities for religious orders, all of which exercise some authority under the Holy Father, over some part of the Church.

In general, you can assume that no matter what it may be, there is some aspect of Church bureaucracy already established to handle it. Very few matters are handled “directly” by the Pope, everything percolates through many layers of bureaucracy and the Pope never even sees or knows about a large percentage of matters that are handled as routine by the bureaucracy.

So if you are wanting to RP something with HVS, it can help add realism to the thread if you TG us and work out how the correct bureaucratic approach might be initiated, or who in the bureaucracy would be contacted, etc. Just “sending everything to the Pope” is a tad on the sloppy side.


Major HVS Characters

Who's Who: General

Pope Leo XIV

Cardinal Renard

Cardinal Hume

Other Characters

NS Papal Documents

Sixtus VI


Diplomacy with the Vatican

The Secretariat of State

Nunciatures, Legations, and Representatives

Roster of Current Diplomats