The Vatican is surrounded by huge walls built during the height of Muslim loot, slave raids and piracy on European shores where millions of Europeans were captured as slaves by North African and Arab Muslims. Last year in April thousands of Italian police stepped up security over Muslim terror threats. Is the Vatican only allowed to protect its borders?
Bankers’ best guesses about the Vatican’s wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion. Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market.
Should the Pope become a true Christian and donate all this wealth to the millions poor and starving in the world?
And what about the walls that protect the Vatican City from intruders?
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.
Encircled by a 2-mile border with Italy, Vatican City is an independent city-state that covers just over 100 acres, making it one-eighth the size of New York’s Central Park. Vatican City is governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head. The Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, operates media outlets and has its own flag and anthem. One government function it lacks: taxation. Museum admission fees, stamp and souvenir sales, and contributions generate the Vatican’s revenue.
Vatican City, a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s home to the pope and a trove of iconic art and architecture. Its Vatican Museums house ancient Roman sculptures such as the Laocoön and Renaissance frescoes in the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling.
When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its form was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall was constructed.
The territory includes St. Peter’s Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter’s Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber River to St. Peter’s. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.
According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies. These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See.
Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. According to the Lateran Treaty (Art. 3) St. Peter’s Square, up to but not including the steps leading to the basilica, is normally patrolled by the Italian police.
Protecting the Vaitcan’s Borders:
The Swiss Guard was hired as a mercenary force.
The Swiss Guard, recognizable by its armor and colorful Renaissance-era uniforms, has been protecting the pontiff since 1506. That’s when Pope Julius II, following in the footsteps of many European courts of the time, hired one of the Swiss mercenary forces for his personal protection. The Swiss Guard’s role in Vatican City is strictly to protect the safety of the pope. Although the world’s smallest standing army appears to be strictly ceremonial, its soldiers are extensively trained and highly skilled marksmen. And, yes, the force is entirely comprised of Swiss citizens.
There are no passport controls for visitors entering Vatican City from the surrounding Italian territory. There is free public access to Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica and, on the occasion of papal general audiences, to the hall in which they are held. For these audiences and for major ceremonies in Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square, tickets free of charge must be obtained beforehand. The Vatican Museums, incorporating the Sistine Chapel, usually charge an entrance fee. There is no general public access to the gardens, but guided tours for small groups can be arranged to the gardens and excavations under the basilica. Other places are open to only those individuals who have business to transact there.
Maybe the Pope should open the doors of the Vatican City to the 10 million Muslims who have fraudulently abused the refugee system in the past five years alone, and superimposed their unwanted presence on Europe. Let’s see how much of history will be left after these “immigrants” are given the same free access to the Vatican City as the Pope wants America to give to criminal South Americans and Muslims.
Donald Trump praises Pope Francis after US-Mexico wall row
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has heaped praise on Pope Francis, hours after the pontiff questioned his Christian faith over his vow to build a border wall with Mexico.
The billionaire struck a more conciliatory tone after earlier calling the Pope’s comments “disgraceful”.
He was also challenged over his opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq at a town hall event in South Carolina.
Republican voters in the US state will make their presidential choice in days.
Mr Trump leads the South Carolina polls and he took to a stage in Columbia on Thursday evening to answer questions on national television, hours after his row with the Pope unfolded.
The Pope had said Mr Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the US border with Mexico was not Christian, provoking a strong response from the businessman.
When asked about his row with the Pope, he said he wouldn’t describe it as a fight, although he later said he didn’t like fighting with him.
Analysis – Jon Sopel, North America editor
Did Mr Trump need to take on the Pope? Well, almost certainly yes.
Because in God-fearing South Carolina, the next state to vote in the primary process – to have the Pope say that he is un-Christian is potentially very damaging.
And over the course of the campaign, the billionaire property developer has been at pains to prove his religious credentials, appearing at rallies with a copy of the Bible that his mother had given him as a child.
“I have a lot of respect for the Pope. He has a lot of personality and I think he’s doing a very good job, he has a lot of energy.”
He said the pontiff was misinformed when he criticised the proposed wall, because he was not aware of the drugs coming in and the other security problems that made a strong border a necessity.
Earlier in the day, Pope Francis said “a person who thinks only about building walls… and not of building bridges, is not Christian”.
That was roundly condemned by Mr Trump, who issued a statement in which he called the comments “disgraceful”.
His anti-immigration stance is a central plank in his campaign – he wants to deport 11 million undocumented migrants and said Muslims should be temporarily barred from coming to the US.
‘Worst decision in US history’
He was also questioned about his opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, after he was confronted with a radio interview from 2002 in which he had said he supported military action there.
Asked about the accuracy of the report, Mr Trump admitted “I could have said that”. He said he was not a politician at the time of the interview and “it was probably the first time anybody asked me that question…by the time the war started, I was against the war”.
Just minutes earlier he had slammed former President George W Bush for going into Iraq saying “it may have been the worst decision anybody has made, any president has made in the history of this country, that’s how bad it is”.
He also refused to say whether Mr Bush had lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction before invading Iraq, despite saying this at the last Republican debate.
Republicans in South Carolina and Democratic voters in Nevada will choose their presidential candidates on Saturday.
Mr Trump, who has no political experience but won in New Hampshire, is the clear frontrunner in the Republican vote.
George W Bush’s younger brother Jeb Bush is one of Mr Trump’s rivals for the White House, but his main threat comes from Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who won the Iowa caucus.
The Democratic race in Nevada has Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders neck-and-neck.
Mrs Clinton, speaking in Las Vegas on Thursday evening, condemned Mr Trump for his “prejudice and paranoia”.
.. and more:
HOW A RAID BY MUSLIM PIRATES PROMPTED VATICAN OFFICIALS TO BUILD THE WALL
Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world. An enormous stone wall acts as a boundary between the micronation and the rest of Italy.
Nowadays, it serves as a way for the Swiss Guard to control the stream of tourists coming in and out of the Pope’s home.
But, just over 1,200 years ago, it was an integral form of protection for the Pope, who was a targeted figure after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire .
The fortification was first built after a raid by Muslim pirates in 846. Arab raiders sacked Rome in a bid to find treasures. They didn’t reach St Peter’s but the attack forced the Vatican to take precautions.
Watch towers were put in place to watch for would-be intruders.
It also helped to protect Pope Gregory VII around 200 years later when the Holy Roman Emperor besieged Rome.
In the 1640s, Pope Paul III expanded the fortifications, and additional defenses.
In 1870, the Pope’s residency in the Vatican was left in flux when Rome was annexed by the Piedmont-led forces which had united the rest of Italy.
They had created the Kingdom of Italy, a change opposed by Pope Pius XIII as it undermined his autonomy in some areas.
Between 1861 and 1929 the status of the Pope was referred to as the ‘Roman Question’ and the walls served as a way of keeping him isolated from the rest of Italy.
Within the walls, Italian politicians did not challenge the Pope’s autonomy. But, in other parts of the country, church items were confiscated.
In 1871, the Palazzo Quirinale, the Papal palace since 1583, was confiscated by the king of Italy and became the royal palace.
Thereafter, Popes resided undisturbed within the Vatican walls.
Certain papal prerogatives were recognized by the Law of Guarantees, including the right to send and receive ambassadors.
But the Popes did not recognise the Italian king’s right to rule in Rome, and they refused to leave the Vatican compound until the dispute was resolved in 1929.
Ever since the autonomy of the Vatican within the walls has not been challenged by the Italian government.
Military Swiss guards, trained to protect the city walls from foreign intruders.
Italian police Carabinieri protecting the Vatican from foreign Muslim terror threats, in April 2015.