We seem to be getting occasional questions that are more or less of a political/religious mix at times concerning Vatican City and the pope as the head of state. As a country the Vatican or Vatican City State is addressed officially as the Holy See by other governments.

My question was prompted by this one on the main site. When questions involve Vatican diplomacy or involve ambassadors of the Holy See, then a Holy See tag should be employed.

The Holy See in its' second section is defined as follows:

Second Section. Section for Relations with States or Second Section has the specific duty of attending to matters which involve civil governments. It has responsibility for (1) the Holy See's diplomatic relations with states, including the establishment of concordats or similar agreements; (2) for the Holy See's presence in international organizations and conferences; (3) in special circumstances, by order of the Supreme Pontiff and in consultation with the competent dicasteries of the Curia, provides for appointments to particular Churches, and for their establishment or modification; (4) in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops, it attends to the appointment of bishops in countries which have entered into treaties or agreements with the Holy See in accordance with the norms of international law. The Second Section is headed by an archbishop, the secretary for relations with states, who is aided by a prelate, the undersecretary for relations with states, and assisted by cardinals and bishops. - The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Here are a few more:

  • 1
    A list of questions that you think should have the tag would help. Are there any tags currently filling the roll?
    – user3961
    Oct 6, 2017 at 4:52
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    The conflation with politics makes this seem off topic. However, the Holy See is the government of the Vatican which is headed by the Pope, the highest religious official of the Catholic Church. If that's not a Christianity topic I don't know what would be. But there must be a line. I don't think the administration of the Vatican is on topic, but when the pope says political things, it seems like maybe it is. And tags are for questions about the topic. These are not about the Holy See, per se, but then again, kind of are. I'm not sure where to go with this.
    – user3961
    Oct 7, 2017 at 0:22

2 Answers 2


This would be a very biased tag, as the Orthodox churches all have a Holy See as well.

Furthermore, the Holy See is used to refer to the jurisdiction and governance of the whole Catholic Church, not just the governance of Vatican City.

We already have a vatican-city tag. If we have more questions on the politics or governance of Vatican City that would be the appropriate tag to use I think.

  • I didn't realize there was more than one meaning for this term. With that knowledge, I think the tags should be used as you suggest.
    – user3961
    Oct 8, 2017 at 16:56
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    A slight ambiguity is that diplomatic relations are established with the Holy See, not the Vatican City State. Oct 9, 2017 at 16:17

I think we should avoid questions concerning the political actions and stances taken by the Holy See when focused on the Vatican as a city-state and its political interests and relationships rather than clear issues of spiritual leadership and historical beliefs for the whole Roman Catholic Church.

  • 2
    But it's hard to tell where that line is sometimes.
    – user3961
    Oct 16, 2017 at 14:48

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