The centralized institution of the Roman Catholic Church. Also, the area of some 110 square acres within the Italian capital of Rome where the top church officials reside and house the base of their operations. Although except for some brief interludes these top officials, notably the popes, have always resided in Rome, the Vatican in its current form was not established until 1929. Then, the area was given a degree of self-government by the government of Italy in order that it might remain free from undue influence from that government, which was at the time under the control of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The Vatican retains this degree of self-government, and remains the home of both the papacy and the curia, the organization in charge of the day-to-day operations of the church. SEE ALSO: papacy; Roman Catholicism Why a criminal trial for leaks could boomerang on the Vatican CRUX .

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