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Vatican considers full UN membership.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's secretary for relations with states, has announced that the Holy See is "seriously considering" applying for full membership of the United Nations. At present, the Vatican has the status of a Non-member State Permanent Observer, which means that the United Nations considers the Holy See to be a state--something that is disputed by organizations and individuals who argue for a separation between church and state. The Holy See is the official name for the government of the Vatican.

Tauran announced in a press conference that the Vatican "will have to weigh carefully the consequences and the advantages and disadvantages of such a step." He stressed that no decision has been made as yet.

The Holy See is currently represented at the UN in New York by its permanent observer, Apostolic Nuncio Celestino Migliore.

Non-governmental organizations have long campaigned against the Vatican's status as a nonmember state with permanent observer status, highlighting the fact that it places Roman Catholicism above other religions that do not have such status, and blurs the necessary distinction between church and state. Switzerland was the only entity with a similar status, but its citizens recently voted to apply for full membership.

The "See Change" Campaign was initiated to change the Vatican's status at the United Nations. More information is available at www.seechange.org.
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Title Annotation:In Catholic Circles
Publication:Conscience
Date:Sep 22, 2003
Words:224
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