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Our readers asked:

When was Vatican City created? Who was the first Pope to live there?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Some definitions to start:

“The Vatican” is the 108 acre plot of land in Rome, West of the Tiber River.

“The Papacy” is the office traced back to St. Peter who traditionally is considered to have been buried at “The Vatican,” so could we say he was the first Pope to “live” there?

The Lateran Treaty of 1929 created Vatican City as a political city state. Constantine gave Pope Militades the land in 313 AD. In 326, the Constantinian Basilica was built on what is thought by many to be the tomb of St. Peter. Pope Symmachus (498-514 A.D.) constructed a palace on Vatican land. Popes have lived at the Vatican since the return from Avignon in 1377.

Ask why the area is called the Vatican and you find various answers. But most seem to think it has something to do with the Latin “vates,” which means “tellers of the future.” Many fortune tellers used to set up shop on the West Bank of the Tiber.

More interesting to many Busted Halo readers would be some financial info on “The Vatican.” So many young adults believe, erroneously, that the Vatican is incredibly wealthy, hoarding billions that could be better used to serve the poor, etc. In fact, the Vatican’s annual budget is about $260 million. For comparison, Harvard’s is $1.3 billion and Microsoft spends $4.7 billion on R&D alone. Overall, the Vatican is worth about $1 billion. Harvard’s endowment was $36 billion before thecrash of 2008. Today Harvard’s endowment is $26 billion. Yale’s is $16 billion. Thus, Harvard’s and Yale’s endowments are 26 and 16 Vaticans (cf. Allen 2004; Fabrikant, New York Times, 09/10/2009). Bill Gates is worth $40 billion and Warren Buffet is worth $25 billion (http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/11/worlds-richest people-billionaires-2009-billionaires_land.html). Charitable organizations in the United States are much richer than the Vatican. The United Way takes in $3.8 billion in revenues, Goodwill $3.2 billion, and the Salvation Army $1.57 billion (http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/22/americas-largest-charities-personal-finance-charity-09-nonprofits_land.html)

The Vatican’s art treasures are “priceless,” which in reality means they cannot be bought.  Who has enough to pay for “priceless”? Those art works are held in trust for all humanity. The Vatican cannot sell the Sistine Chapel or the Pieta, and they must pay to maintain and protect those treasures. The Vatican does not own the property of Catholic churches around the world. The local dioceses own those properties. The Vatican can’t take them by “eminent domain.”

See John L. Allen’s excellent All the Pope’s Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks for more on the operation of the Vatican.

 
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The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Connor Patrick

    i was looking for some info for a report and wound up here. I’m glad to see some people actually trying to spread some truth, and saddened to see others who seem a little discontent. I’m catholic, and firm in my faith. but i also have a great appreciation for fact, reason, and of course history. i hope you take the following into consideration:

    regarding the papacy, jesus DID appoint peter as the head of the Church in the Gospel of Matthew (you are peter, and on this rock i shall build my church). after peter’s death, the remaining apostles and other officials of the church- appointed by the apostles, who were appointed by christ- met to decide who would succeed Peter as the head of the church. this began the tradition of the papacy, although it wasn’t CALLED that until the name was given to it by the people. so while the bible never mentions a pope, jesus DID establish the office.

    i saw someone mention st peter having nothing to do with catholocism, and catholicism having nothing to do with christ. a few times i saw the catholic church condemned as evil. I’d like to remind everyone that originally, there was one church. the christian church. established BY CHRIST. over the years, different sects have left the universal church, notably the greek orthodox church after the great schism, and the protestant church after Martin Luther left the universal church. every christian sect originated from this one universal church… which soon identified itself as the CATHOLIC church (catholic meaning universal). this church recognizes the authority of both sacred scripture and sacred tradition, as well as recognizing the pope as peter’s successor and Christ’s vicar on earth.

    i’m sorry everyone keeps referring to the catholic church in particular as the “divine serpent”, since i assure you this is not the case. your point on the brainwashed not knowing they are brainwashed does provide an interesting conundrum, so i guess you’ll just have to choose whether or not you trust me when i say i truly believe the catholic church holds the fullness of truth. one thing i would like to point out, though… the catholic church makes no allegations toward other religions being intrinsically evil. in fact, the church as a whole has a desire to dialogue with other religions, and recognizes the gems of truth held by them. anyone baptized in any christian sect is considered our brother or sister in Christ. please refrain, therefore, from any unbased comments on the false villainy of the Church.

    thank you for reading, if you read. God bless you all! no matter what your denomination, i pray you will keep your faith well in these trying times.
    -C

    PS i like this “steve” guy in the comments. very informed! very kind! Steve, we’re friends now.

    • Shelby Morris

      We believe that the church was based on Peter’s statement about Christ, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, not on Peter himself. However, looking at history, the church we have today would not exist if not for Peter, and the foundations of the early church and the leaders installed ultimately by Christ, and thus, by the disciples. Yet still, these issues should always be addressed with love and respect, otherwise it could turn those away from Lord who are sincerely seeking answers. Blessings, brothers and sisters!

    • Mex Seiko

      Mat 23:9
      “And call no man your father (Holy Pope?) upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”

  • Chioma

    St peter waz neva a pope d romans killed peter n b4 peter died derz nufin lik d office of pope but elders n deacons 4 administration of relief material. Tanks n God bless

    • Aerauxel

      St. Peter was killed by Romans but after 300 years, Romans was converted to Roman Catholics.
      When you say Pope, it means Father, Catholic sees St. Peter as Father of the Church because of Jesus.

  • Janet

    I came across an article yesterday, that really shocked me. It said that the former statue of Jupiter in Rome was eventually called St. Peter, and the stuatue of Venus was changed to the Virgin Mary. It said that the site chosen for Rome’s headquaters was on one of the seven mountains called ‘VATICANus’ the place of the diving serpent where the Satanic temple of Janus stood. It shocked me because “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and the Abominations of the Earth” was to “sit upon the 7 Mountains.” This is too scary…

    According to Daniel’s dream, the Lion (Babylon), the Bear (Medes/Persians), the Leopard (Greece), and the Beast with Iron teeth (Rome) were nations who anciently controlled the Holy City of Jerusalem. It is prophesied that these same nations/institutions would continue to control Jerusalem and kill the Jews and true Christians.

    Ancient World===Modern World:
    Lion:Babylon==Iraq
    Bear:Medes/Persians==Iran
    Leopard:Greece==Syria/Lebanon
    Beast:Rome==Will be united under an Islamic Calaphate

    The Title of the Article was: How the Vatican Created Islam. When I saw it I thought the idea was crazy….but then it started to made perfect sense. People have discovered how the Koran is an opposite copy of the Book of Revelations….but back in 600AD the only ones who could read the Bible were monks and priests. The story tells of a former Jesuit Priest who confessed about some top-secret documents stored in the Vatican which if leaked would be damning to both Catholism and Islam. The article can be read here.

    YouTube video here.

    • Jack Rohde

      You right and it is scary, its a corrupt place trying to send Christians and people to hell.

  • Emmanuel williams

    One love

  • James

    I thank the busted Halo guys for sharing their knowledge when I wanted to know when the first pope sat in rome.

    Most of the rest of you: This is the reason I do not conform to any religeon although I was raised a catholic. People in most all orgnised religions are bullheaded and do not love there fellow man as most all of the top religion’s preech they should. People have different ideas and upbringings and all of these should be respected, whether it comes from a man on a mountain who heard it directly from god or from a space alien doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do with our time on this earth and how we treat others in OUR world. We all know how we should act and the difference between right and wrong. Start living it rather then preeching it!

    Thanks Again Busted Halo

  • Sympathy

    Steve and/or Dawn David, may I have a word with you?

  • david

    i never knew that the vatican location used to be the location of the satanic temple of janus. that is wild

    because christ said no man can be saved outside of believing on Him. he is the word so the only absolute/authority is Jesus christ who is the word.

    the scriptures aren’t just a bunch of words, that is jesus christ who is God

  • Al

    I LOVE LAMP!

  • gordon

    time will tell. I’ve done my research. the vatican is filled with paganism. The Us congress building holds roman fasces, the roman mace. search the seat of satan, eu and the vatican, roman empire rules today. these are examples of well fact based information. i didn’t show any hatred or judgements. Jesus’s true church is within the individual. all i did was simply state my oppinion on the vatican, not any hatred. the brainwashed do not know they are brainwashed.

  • Steve

    Gordon,

    Yikes.

    Steve

  • Dawn David

    Gordon, It saddens me that you would say such things, without giving any support. Please, understand, anyone can say something bad about someone else, it is the best way to make the “other” feel badly and make the ego “self” feel like they are superior.
    Christ would never spew hatred. ANYONE who judges anyone else is NOT working for GOD or Jesus. The place to judge lay solely in their power.
    As the Good Book says, “Judge not lest you be Judged”
    GOD Bless you and bring you to true knowledge not hype.

  • Gordon Culp

    Hi Steve, you are very mistaken about the church Jesus established. The Roman Catholic Church is in fact the mother of all harlots. The Woman that rides beast which is Europe. Europe and the Vatican are the revived Roman Empire. The European Union has repeatedly stated about the new world order of which they are going to rule. The Vatican is a tool like, the ancient egytian, greco pagan religions.

  • Steve

    Phophosphoros, I take great joy in the fact that, at the very least, we seem to have each others best interests at heart. Perhaps knowing that each of us is trying to explain the Truth as we see it is a testament to Christ’s influence on the world.

    Can you please tell me where it states that everything must be “in the Bible?” By that, I mean, where in scripture does it say that scripture alone is the sole rule of faith for Christians?

    The Catholic Church, established by Jesus Christ, draws authority from both Sacred Tradition, handed down by the Apostles, AND Sacred Scripture. But even in scripture, we can see the roots of the papacy and apostolic succession. The arguments are too long to list here, but please check out these short articles for more info: http://www.catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp

    As far as the Ten Commandments go, the Catholic Church never changed anything. We (along with Protestants up until Calvin) just numbered the commandments differently based on the Exodus and Deuteronomy versions. We both believe the same things and the lists are identical in all Bibles, but modern Protestants tend to separate having one God and idolatry (Catholics tend to consider those similar things) and Catholics tend to separate coveting property and coveting a woman (Protestants tend to consider those similar things). Either way, we all think idolatry and lusting are wrong. You have to remember that Moses didn’t come down from the mountain and number them explicitly – check out the verses for yourself. I believe you’ll find this site helpful. http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0403fea3.asp

    Regarding God “changing his mind,” I would maintain that it is indeed the Catholic Church who has not changed. The teachings of the Church are the same as they were in the first century – just read the early Fathers of the Church like Justin Martyr’s account of early worship. No Catholic doctrine violates scripture and no Catholic doctrine contradicts another.

    Finally, when it comes to Revelation, you claim that it somehow condemns the Church as the “Beast of Revelation.” My only question about that is: What authority do you, Phophosphoros, have to make that interpretation? If your ability to validly interpret scripture is infallible, by all means, I would renounce my Catholic faith and follow you, Pope Phophosphoros. But your interpretation is just that: a private, fallible, interpretation. Without a Church, guided by the Holy Spirit to infallibly interpret scripture, you end up with the mess we have in Christianity today: 35,000 different denominations, all believing in their own version of the Gospel and no way to determine who is right, apart from the Catholic Church’s Magisterium, or teaching authority.

    By the way, where did you get your name, Phophosphoros? Just curious.

    Peace and Good,
    Steve

  • Phophosphoros

    Nowhere in the Bible says about the Pope and the “authority” what was given to him.
    Leave Saint Peter alone.He doesn’t have nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church exactly like The Roman Catholic Church has nothing to do with Jesus.They use his name.Read the Revelation and you will see that The Church of God is not literally a place,but the true Church of God is all of the men who keep the true laws of God.Laws which the Roman Catholic Church don’t keep today.They even change the Laws of God from the Bible.Why The Roman Catholic Church changed The Ten Commandments from The Bible?Tell me?Why?Who give them the authority to change something you can not change.God says in The Psalm 89:34 and He repeats in Malachy 3:6 and in Jacob 1:17 the fact that He doesn’t change what He says and His Laws.
    I’m really sorry.I don’t have time to explain you everything and I’m sorry for that because I know you will not understand a thing.The Roman Catholic Church is The Beast of Revelation.You will see.The facts will proove it very soon.And if you don’t wanna see it that means you are brainwashed by them just like the others.
    Now in this world no religion is good anymore because they changed the Word of God.In the Bible says something and they do nothing what it’s in The Bible.
    I’m really sorry.I’m sure you will not understand.How could you?
    God bless you and I hope you and the other people see the truth one day and realise this.

    The Truth shall set you free!
    and GOD Bless You.

  • Phophosphoros

    Nowhere in the Bible says about the Pope and the “authority” what was given to him.
    Leave Saint Peter alone.He doesn’t have nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church exactly like The Roman Catholic Church has nothing to do with Jesus.They use his name.

  • Steve

    Who gave the authority to the Pope? Jesus!

    Matthew 16: “Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.”

    John 21: 15-19 is also good.

    There is indeed only one mediator between God and man, Christ. But that does not mean that Christ did not set up a church in which others are vested with spiritual authority. One only has to look at the end of the Gospel accounts, Acts, and the epistles to see that.

    I believe that “Pope” literally means “Papa” and it is a respectful acknowledgment that the Bishop of Rome has a certain spiritual fatherhood in the Church. I have never heard of the Pope being referred to as “The Great High Priest” by any Catholic, so I can’t help you with that one.

    Also, the Pope is indeed sinful. John Paul II used to go to confession once a week. A handful of historical Popes did horrible things, as you can read in any European history book. But what does that have to do with anything? No Catholic has ever claimed that the Pope cannot sin. Just look at Peter’s behavior in the Gospels and Pauline epistles.

    Concerning Revelation, What on earth would make the Catholic Church the beast of Revelation? That makes no sense whatsoever and comes only through a heroic twisting of scripture to arrive at the your predetermined points.

    Oh, and concerning the original topic, what evidence do you have that says the Vatican hill/mount was a “sacred place” with pagan serpent worship? I honestly have never heard this one, so I’m curious what your sources are. Regardless of whatever the particular hill’s name origin, that is pretty irrelevant to the fact that Vatican City is just a small country headed by the Bishop of Rome. Are places like Chicago, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, and Athens evil because non-Christians used to live and practice religion there? If I am mischaracterizing your point, I apologize. I just cannot make the same leap from “Snake Hill” to “Satan Church,” as you seem to do.

    Peace and Good,
    Steve

  • Phophosphoros

    The name Mons Vaticanus doesn’t means “Vatican Hill”.It means “Vatican Mount”.And you say it yourself the fact that the place-name Vatican predates Christianity.That’s exactly what I meant.
    So why you don’t get it?The romans were pagan before Christianity.Right?And they named that mount Vaticanus as a sacred mount to there pagan religion which includes false gods and the worship of a Serpent god which the romans took from another pagan nation.Sorry,but the fact that matter is the name Vatican really means “The Divine Serpent” and is a proove of what they really are.Who gives the authority to the Pope.In The Holy Bible Jesus says that is only one mediator between God and men and that mediator is the Messiah,Jesus Christ.In other words The Pope doesn’t have any authority to call himself Pope or The Great Priest,which The Bible says that there’s only one Great Priest and that Great Priest is Jesus Christ.Only Jesus Christ.Not a Pope(a sinful man) chosen by the cardinals which are also sinful men.
    If you read The Revelation chapters 13 and 17 and you match the description you will see that The Beast is The Roman Catholic Church.I’m sorry,but you can’t change what’s in the Bible.
    I’m really sorry if I insult you or your religion.
    God Bless you Steve and your family and all the creatures on earth.

  • Steve

    Hey Phophoshoros, you’re mixing your slander with lies.

    The place-name “Vatican” predates Christianity. The city of Rome has several hills, one of which is called MONS VATICANUS, which means “Vatican Hill.” Real historians believe that it was a originally an Etruscan village called Vaticum.

    I pray that the venom you spew on here is the result of ignorance and not hatred. If you have a serious question, ask it, but leave the trashy epithets to yourself.

    God bless,
    Steve

  • Phophosphoros

    it has something to do with the Latin “vates,”
    which means “tellers of the future.”
    Totally wrong.That’s a lie.
    The word Vatican come from the latin words Vatis,which means Divine and Can which means serpent or snake.Get it.The word VATICAN actually means “THE DIVINE SERPENT”.I’m wonder why?Oh!Maybe because the roman catholic church is the church of Satan.Why is the Vatican a holy place?Or a holy city?The Bible says specifically that GOD chose Jerusalem to be THE HOLY CITY,not the Vatican.So by doing what the roman catholic curch it’s doing you go up against GOD and His Will.

  • Pat

    Thanks for the information. Had no idea. Have been to the Vatican and found it awe-inspiring and humbling as a Catholic. What a magnicifent symbol of our Church!

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