Vatican City: Its Own Little Country
Back in the 1880's when Ellen White penned her prediction of a revival of the papacy's world dominance, some found it hard to believe. The papacy had just been dealt another blow in 1870 when she lost control both of the Papal States and of the city of Rome itself. Not until Mussolini in 1929 ceded the Vatican to the papacy did the papacy have its own little country again.
The papacy lost both its supremacy and its temporal power (its sovereign territory) in 1798. While it has not since regained its supremacy, it did regain its temporal power in 1800 when a new pope ruled over the papal states. It lost its territory again in 1809, and regained it again after 1815.
According to papal loyalist Malachi Martin, the situation after that point was anything but pretty:
Many today think that the old fears back then about the papacy being a threat to freedom were just anti-Catholic bigotry. Hardly. Even Catholics of the nineteenth century thought that the papacy was a menace.
The above situation led to the papacy losing its territory once again in 1848, but it regained it again in 1849. Then it lost it one last time in 1870.
For 59 years, from 1870-1929, the papacy complained about this loss of territory. Why should it? No other church in the world has its own little country. Why should the papacy care?
In 1870 multitudes of Catholics thought that the loss of all temporal power was a good thing. Divested of all civil power, the popes could concentrate on spiritual things for a change and leave worldly things alone. Why then did the papacy insist on having its own little country?
The answer concerns a point of papal dogma, and has a direct bearing on the papacy's plans for regaining world dominion. The Vatican teaches that the pope replaces Jesus Christ on earth, and holds on this planet the place of God Almighty. It follows logically that if you can't tell the Father and the Son what to do, then you really can't tell the pope what to do either.
But that leaves us with a big problem: If the pope is a mere citizen of a country such as Italy, then he must be subject to the authorities of Italy like the Bible commands (Rom. 13:1). However, if he is the head of his own country, then he answers to no one whatsoever and can do as he pleases. Thus the possession of his own sovereign state is of vital importance.
Moreover, it serves as a base of international operations that no other church can match. The fact that the Vatican is considered a sovereign country aids its objective of exchanging ambassadors with as many nations as possible. It can then through its ambassadors influence the legislation and policies of the entire globe, more than any other denomination.
It was in 1867 that the U.S. Congress ceased funding the U.S. diplomatic mission in Rome, which caused its closure. The reason for the cessation of funding was that Congress had heard that the papacy had forbidden Protestant religious services to be conducted in the city of Rome.
In 1939 Franklin Roosevelt began some sort of diplomatic relations with the Vatican by sending his personal representative. In 1984, Ronald Reagan established formal diplomatic ties, and regular ambassadors were exchanged between the Church of Rome and Washington.
But the question must be asked, Does the Vatican now allow Protestant worship services to be freely conducted on its soil? If not, then why were diplomatic ties ever re-established?
Does the Vatican discriminate on the basis of religion in its hiring practices for positions in its government? Sure, churches should be allowed to hire only those of their own persuasion, but for a country to do that seems totally unacceptable. The U.S. Constitution forbids religious tests for office, and it should. Because of that provision, Catholics today hold numerous offices at all levels of government. Should not the Vatican do likewise in the name of religious freedom, and thus demonstrate that no one has anything to fear about its rapid rise in popularity and power since 1929?
Arguably, the United States of America is the most powerful nation on the globe today. And yet not even the president of the United States hosts the pope at the White House. The president always goes to see the pope at the Vatican or some other agreed place, but the pope never goes to see the president at his office or home. This sends a clear message that the pope is the greater of the two, whether that be the truth or not.