The Ministry of Holy Affairs, also known as the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Division of State Ecclesiastical Affairs, or the Ministry of State, is the pontifical government branch responsible for the international relations of the Vatican. The Ministry is headquartered in Rome, the capital of the Vatican, and is currently led by Cardinal Caterina Sforza.
The Ministry was created to resolve diplomatic situations by using peaceful methods, although the Ministry considered this task to be difficult due to the instability of the international community. In situations where diplomacy fails, the use of force is exercised by the by the AX—a special division of the Ministry of Holy Affairs. The AX consists of elite priests and nuns, all of whom are trained to undertake unconventional missions as a special forces group of the Vatican.