According to the Code of Canon Law, individual dioceses, eparchies, parishes, religious orders and associations are the legitimate owners of their own cultural property. Many of these, following national guidelines, have come to special agreements with the legislative and administrative authorities of the states in which they exist for the protection and preservation of ecclesiastical cultural property, particularly when this has been designated a national monument. This autonomy with regard to states makes it impossible to give an overall view of the variety of legislation in this area. The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Goods of the Church is intended to encourage attention to the preservation of local Churches’ cultural heritage through ad hoc commissions and the publication of guidelines (see chapter 3.1).
For the Vatican City, the Permanent Commission for the Care of Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See is responsible for the protection and preservation of the Holy See’s heritage of cultural goods. There is no private cultural property in the Vatican.