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If someone has studied the faith, but not yet become a Catholic, or has rejected Catholic teaching, after studing is, they would not be a formal heretic. Now if you ask me, (and I am biased, because I became a Catholic) they are someone who needs to ask more questions, or has been prejudiced against the faith by false ideas, or needs to pray, and be prayed for, so they can accept the truth that Jesus founded one Church, promised to remain with it, and has not turned away from His promise.
As far as the Pope having Political Power, and the Vatican being a sovern country, you betcha. If the Vatican was on the soil of another country it would be influenced by that country. The United Nations is in New York City, however the UN sits on International Property, with it’s own police, and laws. This way the UN is able to work independently of the USA, or the influence of any other country.
The Political power of the Vatican allowed it to help people like my family escape from Europe during WWII, it allowed for relief in POW and refugee camps over the past century. Italy was actually very Anti-Catholic from the early 1800s to recently. The Anti-Clerical crowds who massed in Rome at the Funeral of Pope Pius IX threatened to toss his body into the Tiber River. In order to protect Catholics from undue influence by Civil Governments, the Vatican should be independent. If you look at other Groups like the Calvanists, and the Anglicans, as well as many Lutherans when they where founded, they had to depend on the graces of the local Prince or King. In the case of Calvin, he ran both the Civil and Religious life of Geneva in his lifetime, and instituted public hangings of those who disagreed with his religious teachings.