Policy & History

The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory. The Pope is the ruler of both Vatican City State and the Holy See. The Holy See, as the supreme body of government of the Catholic Church, is a sovereign juridical entity under international law. The United States and the Holy See consult and cooperate on international issues of mutual interest, including human rights, peace and conflict prevention, poverty eradication and development, environmental protection, and inter-religious understanding. Since his inauguration, Pope Francis has acted as a global advocate for human dignity and justice, specifically in his emphasis on the moral imperative of ending trafficking in persons and caring for the poor and marginalized. The United States and the Holy See enjoy a positive relationship that serves to amplify a global message of peace, hope, and justice.