The Vatican is getting a divorce from Italian law. The Pope has decreed his city-state within Rome will no longer automatically endorse Italian legislation, but will scrutinize bills for conflicts with Roman Catholic doctrine before adopting them. It's the first time the Vatican has distanced itself from Italy's laws—and treaties—since it became an independent state in 1929. The Vatican recently refused to approve a United Nations declaration decriminalizing homosexuality.
Italian laws are too numerous, too confusing and too often conflict with Catholic doctrine on issues such as civil unions, divorce, living wills and euthanasia, a Vatican lawyer said recently. An Italian minister has conceded that Italian laws are often difficult to understand. The government is currently culling thousands of obsolete laws from its books.