A pontifical academy is an academic honorary society established by or under the direction of the Holy See. Some were in existence well before they were accepted as "Pontifical."
The Pontifical academies
Currently there are eleven Pontifical academies at the Vatican in Rome, in the following areas:
- The Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters of the Virtuosi al Pantheon, in Italian: Template:Lang, was established in 1542. Its purpose is to study, cultivate, and perfect the fine arts
- The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, or Template:Lang, was founded in 1603 to honor and promote research
- The Pontifical Academy of Theology, or Template:Lang, was founded in 1718; promotes the authentic Catholic faith
- The Pontifical Academy of Archaeology or Template:Lang, founded in 1810, promotes Christian archeology and the history of Christian art
- The Pontifical Academy of Martyrs or Template:Lang dates from 1879 and promotes the veneration of the martyrs and the study of the catacombs
- The Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas or Template:Lang, founded in 1879, promotes the study of Thomism
- The Pontifical Academy of Mary or Template:Lang was established in 1946 and promotes Mariology
- The Pontifical Academy for Life or Template:Lang was founded in 1994 to promote the consistent life ethic of the Roman Catholic Church; it was formerly headed by Bishop Elio Sgreccia, and now by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.
- The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences or Template:Lang, founded 1994, promotes social, economic, political, and legal sciences in the light of the church's social teachings
- The Pontifical Academy for Latin, also Template:Lang or Template:Lang was established in 2012 for the dissemination and education of Latin.
The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, an institution for the training of Catholic clergy to serve as Apostolic Nuncios, Pro-Nuncios, or Papal Delegates, is not one of the Pontifical academies, but is one of the Roman Colleges.