This week I offer a somewhat unusual edition of Vatican Insider’s interview segment -unusual in the how and where I recorded the segment with Franziska from Cologne, Germany and Alexandra from Warsaw, Poland. These two amazing young ladies were in Rome last weekend for the August 3 meeting that Pope Francis had with an estimated 5,000 participants of Euromoot, an international Catholic scout gathering attended by boys and girls aged 16 to 21 coming from 20 nations.

Franziska and Alexandra, as all the scouts who came to Rome, belong to the International Union of the Guides and Scouts of Europe (UISGE) In fact, they both work with UISGE in the communications field. (Franziska L and Alexandra R)

Euromoot is scout jargon for an international gathering of Rangers (Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and Rovers (Boy Scouts). So join me on Vatican Insider and you’ll meet two Rangers of the scouting movement!

Our conversation followed a morning audience with Pope Francis and then Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. In the early afternoon, there was no possibility to find a quiet venue such as a studio for our conversation so we stopped off at Homebaked as it was close to our meeting point and not far from their next appointment. And it had air conditioning! There was the occasional background sound of voices and a few times it sounded like a plane had landed near out table so I ask your indulgence as you listen to our conversation. As I mention at the start of our conversation, you can even hear a milkshake being made!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


It’s been around a few months now and there’s still some work to do on the new website for Vatican City State but it is a good start as it offers terrific photos and many interesting articles, although most are in Italian. The previous website for Vatican City had been translated in five languages and when I tried to find English on the new site, I got nowhere. So, I went to the url ( and simply changed the ‘it’ for Italian to ‘en’ for English and it worked. Not for other languages, however.

To find a few articles in English, click here: Then go to the table of contents (the three little lines in the upper right hand corner) and click on a topic that may interest you (I repeat, not all are in English, no matter what the table of contents implies!). Not all topics are clickable. You might get a 404 ERROR!

One thing I do miss was all the information the former website provided about visiting Vatican City, the gardens, the Museums, Castelgandolfo, the Scavi, St. Peter’s Basilica, climbing to the dome, etc. I put that info (telephone numbers, fax numbers, emails, etc) in my book on the Holy Year and I have a copy in my travel folder in my computer. I’ll publish that in a day or two – just make you keep a copy for yourself as you will not find the info on the new website.

Here is one offering in English on Vatican City State itself:

Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11, 1929. These were ratified on June 7, 1929. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under international law.

The Catholic Church carries out its mission of announcing the truth of the Gospel for the salvation of all humanity and in the service of peace and justice in favour of all peoples, both through the various specific and local Churches spread throughout the world, as well as through its central government.

This is made up of the Pope and the Departments that assist him in carrying out his responsibilities towards the universal Church (identified as the Apostolic See or Holy See). The Pope lives in Vatican City where several of the aforementioned Departments are to be found.

Vatican City State has the singular characteristic of being an instrument of the independence of the Holy See, and of the Catholic Church, from any earthly power. In a way, it is a sign of the Church’s supernatural character insofar as the structures of Vatican City are reduced to the minimum necessary to guarantee its functions.

(Click here for a map –

Vatican City lies just beyond the right bank of the Tiber River on a slight rise, part of the ancient Montes Vaticani (the Vatican Hill), on which several villas were built in pre-Christian times.

The Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41AD) had a private circus built here. It appears that many Christians living in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-68AD) were martyred in this circus and in the adjoining gardens.

St Peter was buried to the north of the circus, in a necropolis that lay beside a secondary road. Between 324 and 326 AD, the Emperor Constantine built a magnificent basilica over the burial site. It was replaced by the present Basilica between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Vatican City covers a territory of 44 hectares (roughly 108.7 acres). It is partly surrounded by walls and stretches into St Peter’\’s Square as far as a strip of travertine stone that corresponds with the furthest end of the colonnade. This marks the boundary of the State and the edge of the square that is normally open to everyone. Even though it is part of Vatican City, the Square is usually patrolled by members of the Italian Police Force.

There are five entrances to Vatican City, each of them guarded by the Pontifical Swiss Guards and by the Gendarmes Corps of Vatican City State. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano, not far from Piazza del Risorgimento.

Because Vatican City is so small, several departments and offices belonging to the Holy See are situated in buildings around Rome (Piazza Pio XII, Via della Conciliazione, Piazza San Callisto, Piazza della Cancelleria and Piazza di Spagna). According to the Lateran Treaty, these buildings enjoy the same status, recognized by international law, as embassies and foreign diplomatic missions abroad.

The areas occupied by these buildings are commonly known as “extraterritorial”.

The population of Vatican City is about 800 people, of whom over 450 have Vatican citizenship, while the rest have permission to reside there, either temporarily or permanently, without the benefit of citizenship.

About half of the Vatican’s citizens do not live inside Vatican City. Because of their occupations (mostly as diplomatic personnel), they live in different countries around the world. The conferral or loss of citizenship, authorization to live inside Vatican City and formalities for entering the territory, are governed by special regulations issued according to the Lateran Treaty.

There are two sets of initials that identify vehicles registered in the Vatican Automobile Register: SCV (Stato della Citta del Vaticano) for vehicles belonging to the Vatican City State and departments of the Holy See; CV (Citta del Vaticano) for vehicles that are the property of Vatican citizens and individuals who, in agreement with Italian authorities, are allowed to register their vehicles in Vatican City. The international abbreviation is V.

(JFL: For decades, Italians (and a number of Vatican employees) have said that SVC really means “Se Cristo vedesse!” (If only Christ could see!”)