Tarcisio Bertone

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His Eminence Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.
Cardinal Secretary of State
See Frascati
Appointed 15 September 2006
Predecessor Angelo Sodano
Other posts
Ordination 1 July 1960
by Albino Mensa
Consecration 1 August 1991
by Albino Mensa
Created Cardinal 21 October 2003
Rank Cardinal-Bishop
Personal details
Birth name Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone
Born (1934-12-02) 2 December 1934 (age 78)
Romano Canavese, Italy
Nationality Italian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Residence Vatican City
Previous post
Motto fidem custodire, concordiam servare
Coat of arms

Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, S.D.B. (born 2 December 1934) is an Italian prelate and diplomat. A cardinal of the Catholic Church, he currently serves as Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo, having previously served as Archbishop of Vercelli from 1991 to 1995, as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, was Prefect, and Archbishop of Genoa from 2002 to 2006. Bertone was elevated to the cardinalate in 2003. On 10 May 2008, he was named Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati. Besides his native Italian, Bertone speaks fluent French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. He has some knowledge of English, although he is not fluent, and he can read Polish (and he has a Polish secretary), Latin, Greek and Hebrew.


[edit] Early life

Bertone was born in Romano Canavese, Piedmont, the fifth of eight children. Bertone has stated that his mother was a determined anti-Fascist militant of the Italian People's Party, and later a Christian Democrat.

He professed his vows as a member of the Salesians on 3 December 1950, and was ordained a priest by Archbishop Albino Mensa on 1 July 1960. He holds a doctorate in canon law. His dissertation was entitled The Governance of the Church in the Thought of Pope Benedict XIV (1740–1758).[1] He served as Professor of Special Moral Theology at the Pontifical Salesian University from 1967 until his appointment as Professor of Canon Law in 1976, a post he held until 1991. He was a visiting professor of Public Ecclesiastical Law at the Institute Utriusque Iuris of the Pontifical Lateran University in 1978. In 1988 he was appointed to a group of experts that assisted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in negotiations with the then-excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. He was also commissioned by Pope John Paul II to assist Emmanuel Milingo, Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, in returning to the Catholic Church in 2001. Milingo had left the Church to marry Maria Sung of the Moon sect.[2]

[edit] Archbishop and Cardinal

Arms of Cardinal Bertone

On 4 July 1991, Bertone was appointed Archbishop of Vercelli by Pope John Paul II. He was consecrated a bishop one month later by Archbishop Mensa, who had also ordained him. He held this post until his resignation in 1995 upon being named Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict XVI. Appointed Archbishop of Genoa on 10 December 2002 and installed on 2 February 2003, Bertone was elevated to the College of Cardinals in the consistory of 21 October 2003, as Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Via Tuscolana. Then-Archbishop Angelo Amato succeeded Bertone as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, before becoming the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

As a member of the Society of Don Bosco, he is considered a priest who has undertaken work with youth whom, in Pope John Paul's last words, he had sought throughout his papacy. Bertone's secretary once related a story that "Bertone once decided to take a public bus to the Apostolic Palace. As the Cardinal in his long black cassock and red fascia strode on to the bus, the people, especially a group of young people, stared in silence. Bertone immediately broke the ice with his 'characteristic' smile. By the time he reached his destination the prelate had engaged the youth in a deep conversation on love, sex, virginity, and chastity".[3]

He later specialized in the relationship between social morality, faith and politics. He also assisted with the revision of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and undertook pastoral work in parishes. In the Jubilee Year 2000, Cardinal Bertone was entrusted by John Paul II with the publication of the third part of the secret of Fatima.

Bertone was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Bertone remains eligible to vote in any future conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on 2 December 2014.

On 15 March 2005, Bertone was in the news for "breaking the Church's silence" and sharply criticizing Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, saying the book was "shameful and unfounded lies", and that believers should boycott the book. Both Bertone and official Vatican spokespeople insisted that Bertone was not speaking as an official representative of the Church, but it was also noted that Bertone's high placement within the Church hierarchy (his name was often cited as a potential candidate for the next pontiff) gave his words considerable weight, such that his comments were often reported by various media as an official statement from the Vatican.[4] In 2006, the NBC news program Dateline described his statement as "a high-ranking Vatican Cardinal called for a boycott of the film."

[edit] Cardinal Secretary of State

Styles of
Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
Escudo de Armas de Mons. Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone 01 png.png
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Frascati (Suburbicarian)

On 22 June 2006, Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Bertone to replace Angelo Sodano as the Cardinal Secretary of State, assuming the office on 15 September of that same year. on 26 June 2006 Cardinal Bertone was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.[5]

It was revealed on the following 31 August that Cardinal Bertone had a dream in which Pope John Paul II spoke to him saying "do not be afraid" to the Cardinal as he prepared to take his new job.[6]

On 4 April 2007, Benedict XVI also appointed Cardinal Bertone as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (or Chamberlain). The duties of the Camerlengo are largely confined to administration during the vacancy of the Holy See.[7] On 10 May 2008 he was promoted to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati.[8]

Bertone is known to study the problem at hand before taking action. One such example is when after he was named Archbishop of Vercelli he "locked himself in his room all night and studied the life of Saint Eusebius, who was bishop of the city back in 345 AD".[3]

He is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Congregation for Bishops and Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He will hold these memberships until his 80th birthday on 2 December 2014.

[edit] Evaluation of dicasteries

Two weeks before entering office, Bertone was interviewed and asked his opinion about reforms of the Roman Curia. Bertone remarked, "After almost two decades, an evaluation of how the dicasteries are organised is more than comprehensible, in order to reflect on how to make the existing structures more efficient for the mission of the Church and eventually to consider whether all of them should be maintained".[9]

[edit] Church and sports

Cardinal Bertone suggested in December 2006 that the Holy See "could, in future, field a team that plays at the top level, with Roma, Internazionale, Genoa and Sampdoria." He continued by saying, "If we just take the Brazilian students from our Pontifical universities we could have a magnificent squad".[10] However, only hours later he said, "I've got much more to do than cultivating a football squad for the Vatican", and explained that his earlier remark was not intended to be taken seriously.[11]

[edit] Defence of Pius XII

On 5 June 2007, at a conference announcing the release of a new biography of Pope Pius XII, Bertone defended Pius against claims of indifference toward the Jews during The Holocaust. The Cardinal condemned this accusation as a "black legend" and "an attack on good sense and on rationality", which has "become so firmly established that even to scratch it is an arduous task".[12] Although he admitted that Pius XII had been "cautious" in condemning Nazi Germany, Bertone stated that Nazi forces would have intensified its program of genocide had the Pope been more outspoken.

[edit] Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy

On 16 September 2006, Cardinal Bertone, after only one day in his job as Cardinal Secretary of State, released a declaration explaining that the "position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate" and that "the Pope's option in favour of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal."[13]

As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake—in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text—certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. [The Pope] sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions.[14][15] (emphasis as in original)

[edit] Comments by Patriarch Alexius II

On 5 December 2006, Patriarch Alexius II accused the Holy See of an "extremely unfriendly policy"[16] when he said that the Catholic Church was poaching converts in Orthodox lands in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics. In response, Cardinal Bertone said, "We do not want to engage in proselytism in Russia".[17]

[edit] Le Figaro interview

On 31 March 2007, Cardinal Bertone confirmed Pope Benedict's impending publication of the long-expected motu proprio extending the indult for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro.[18][19][20]

In the same interview, Bertone "blasted the media for highlighting the Vatican's views on sex while maintaining a 'deafening silence' about charity work done by thousands of Catholic organisations around the world."[21] He continued by saying, "I see a fixation by some journalists on moral topics, such as abortion and homosexual unions, which are certainly important issues but absolutely do not constitute the thinking and work of the Church."

[edit] Proposed excommunication of drug dealers

On 14 January 2009, Cardinal Bertone suggested that the Church would consider taking much stronger action against drug dealers. This action might possibly include excommunication. He made a statement about the Church's alarm at the "disaster" of drug-fuelled violence on the eve of a trip to Mexico. [4]

[edit] Support for universal and free access to anti-AIDS drugs

On Friday, June 22, 2012, in an online news story article by Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service (CNS), it was reported that, in a conference in Rome on the prevention of the transmission of AIDS from mothers to children sponsored by the lay Community of Sant'Egidio (which runs the DREAM project, a free AIDS prevention/treatment program in 10 African countries), the Cardinal Secretary of State urged that full and easy access to antiretroviral drugs be made free worldwide (these are drugs, such as AZT, that can treat, and in some cases, can prevent people from getting, AIDS; they do not presently cure AIDS once it has infected someone). Cardinal Bertone acknowledged that the only way this would be remotely feasible, especially in Africa- where the efforts would be most needed and focused- would be through a collaborative effort involving aid groups, governments, donors, medical groups, pharmaceutical companies, and churches.[22]

[edit] Vatican leaks

Cardinal Bertone is the main target of much of the leaks in the Roman Curia. Cardinal Bertone blamed the scandal over leaked Vatican documents on unethical journalists and a spirit of hostility toward the Catholic Church. "Many journalists play at imitating Dan Brown," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in an interview with the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana. "They continue to invent fables or repeat legends." Cardinal Bertone made his remarks as Vatican judges were investigating leaks to Italian journalists of dozens of documents, including letters to the pope and encrypted cables from Vatican embassies around the world, several of which hint at power struggles among officials of the Holy See. "The truth is that there is a malicious will to produce division" among the collaborators of Pope Benedict XVI, he said.[23]

[edit] Ash Wednesday speech

On 13 February 2013, at the last public Mass of Pope Benedict XVI before his resignation took effect on 28 February, Cardinal Bertone praise Pope Benedict, "We would not be honest, Your Holiness, if we said that this evening there is not a hint of sadness in our hearts. In recent years, your teaching has been a window open onto the Church and the world, which let in the rays of truth and love of God, to enlighten and warm our journey, even and especially at times when clouds gathered in the sky". Cardinal Bertone went on to say "All of us have realized that it is precisely the deep love that Your Holiness has for God and the Church that prompted you to make this act, revealing that purity of mind, that strong and demanding faith, that strength of humility and meekness, along with great courage, that have marked every step of your life and your ministry".[24]

[edit] Criticisms

[edit] Controversial statements on child abuse within the Church

In his book The Case Of The Pope, Geoffrey Robertson criticises Bertone for his hyperbolic rejection of the "demand that a bishop be obligated to contact police to denounce a priest who had admitted paedophilia". Bertone argued that "if a priest cannot confide in his bishop for fear of being denounced then it would mean that there is no more liberty of conscience". As recently as Easter 2010, Bertone has publicly blamed the child sex scandal on homosexual infiltration of the clergy, contrary to the findings of a report from 2003 commissioned by the Holy See, which found no causal link.[25]

[edit] Political controversies in the Roman Curia

Bertone has been criticized by Catholic journalist Sandro Magister for having exposed Benedict XVI to public controversies surrounding episcopal nominations in Italy and Poland.[26] Magister also writes that the problems in communications and governance that were visible during the Williamson affair can largely be attributed to Bertone.[27]

[edit] Third Secret of Fatima controversy

Bertone has been accused of lying about the content of the Third Secret of Fatima in his book, The Last Secret of Fatima,[28] and also in televised appearances.[29][30] After Bertone's book was published, Italian journalist Antonio Socci published an article entitled, Dear Cardinal Bertone: Who—between you and me—is Deliberately Lying?.[29] Catholic attorney Christopher Ferrara wrote an entire book called The Secret Still Hidden (content available online) aimed at exposing and debunking the claims of Cardinal Bertone with respect to Fatima.[30] The book contains an appendix entitled, 101 Grounds for Doubting Cardinal Bertone's Account. In particular, it is claimed that Bertone engaged in a systematic deception along with Cardinal Sodano and Cardinal Ratzinger to cover-up the existence of a one-page document containing the words Lúcia Santos said were relayed to her in a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which some believe contains information about the Apocalypse and a great apostasy.[30][31] Bertone denied that he told anything less than the full truth about Fatima in a televised appearance.[32]

[edit] Awards and honours

In February 2010 President Lech Kaczyński of Poland conferred on the cardinal the country's highest decoration for foreign nationals, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland, "for the lofty merits acquired in the development of the collaboration between the Republic of Poland and the Holy See and for the work carried out in favor of the Church in Poland."

Cardinal Bertone also received the Gaudium et Spes Award at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention in 2007. It is the order's highest honor.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Zenit. Cardinal Bertone Prefers Activity to Study 15 September 2006
  2. ^ http://www.zenit.org/article-2171?l=english
  3. ^ a b Whispers in the Loggia. The Faithful Secretary 18 August 2006
  4. ^ BBC News. Church Fights Da Vinci Code Novel 15 March 2006
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Whispers in the Loggia. Bertone: "I Had a Dream" 31 August 2006
  7. ^ Press Office of the Holy See RINUNCE E NOMINE, 04.04.2007
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ CathNews. Cardinal Bertone Wants to be Secretary of Church Not State 31 August 2006
  10. ^ Telegraph. Vatican Wants to Play Priests in Serie A 20 December 2006
  11. ^ David Willey (19 December 2006). "Vatican plays down soccer 'joke'". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolpda/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_6195000/6195077.stm. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  12. ^ Catholic World News. Strong Defense of Pius XII by Cardinal Bertone 6 June 2007
  13. ^ Libreria Editrice Vaticana'. "Traduzione In Lingua Inglesse" 16 September 2006
  14. ^ Reuters. "Pope apologises to Muslims", 16 September 2006
  15. ^ Associated Press. "Pope 'sincerely regrets' he offended Muslims" 16 September 2006
  16. ^ KYIV Post
  17. ^ Zenit. Cardinal Bertone: We Don't Proselytize 5 December 2006
  18. ^ Le Figaro. Bertone: "Foi et raison ne s'opposent pas" – in French 2 April 2007
  19. ^ Rortate Cæli. Breaking News: Bertone Confirms Motu Proprio 31 March 2007
  20. ^ Catholic World News. Media Distort Church Statements, Cardinal Bertone Charges 2 April 2007
  21. ^ Moora. Pope's Aide Blasts Church Media Coverage 1 April 2007
  22. ^ http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1202664.htm
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ Farewell address to the Holy Father
  25. ^ Geoffrey Robertson QC (2010). The Case Of The Pope. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-241-95384-6.
  26. ^ Tarcisio Bertone, the Cardinal Who Was Supposed to Help the Pope
  27. ^ Double Disaster at the Vatican: Of Governance, and of Communication
  28. ^ Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (2008). The Last Secret of Fatima. Doubleday Religion. ISBN 978-0-385-52582-4.
  29. ^ a b Socci, Antonio, Who Between — You and Me is Deliberately Lying?, http://www.fatimacrusader.com/cr86/cr86pg35.asp
  30. ^ a b c Ferrara, Christopher (2008). The Secret Still Hidden. Good Counsel Publications Inc.. ISBN 978-0-9815357-0-8. (Content of book available online for free). http://www.secretstillhidden.com/book.html#overview.
  31. ^ Kramer, Father Paul (2002). The Devil's Final Battle. Good Counsel Publications Inc.. ISBN 978-0-9663046-5-7. (Content of book available online for free). http://www.devilsfinalbattle.com/content2.htm.
  32. ^ Television special filmed in Italy on 21 September 2007; filmed in an auditorium at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Italy.

[edit] External links

Episcopal lineage
Consecrated by: Albino Mensa
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Mauro Piacenza 15 November 2003
Luigi Palletti 16 January 2005
Raffaele Cardinal Farina, S.D.B. 16 December 2006
Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv. 16 December 2006
Antoni Stankiewicz 16 December 2006
Carlo Chenis, S.D.B. 10 February 2007
Leo Boccardi 18 March 2007
Vincenzo Bertolone, S.d.P. 3 May 2007
Michele Di Ruberto 30 June 2007
Gaetano Galbusera Fumagalli, S.D.B. 26 August 2007
Vito Rallo 28 October 2007
Gianni Ambrosio 16 February 2008
Luciano Suriani 26 April 2008
Léon Kalenga Badikebele 1 May 2008
Frans Daneels, O. Praem. 1 May 2008
Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru 1 May 2008
Miguel Maury Buendía 12 June 2008
Paolo De Nicolò 12 June 2008
Bernardito Auza 3 July 2008
Piergiuseppe Vacchelli 3 July 2008
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Albino Mensa
Archbishop of Vercelli
4 June 1991 – 13 June 1995
Succeeded by
Enrico Masseroni
Preceded by
Alberto Bovone
Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
13 June 1995 – 10 December 2002
Succeeded by
Angelo Amato, SDB
Preceded by
Dionigi Tettamanzi
Archbishop of Genova
10 December 2002 – 15 September 2006
Succeeded by
Angelo Bagnasco
Preceded by
Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
4 April 2007 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Alfonso López Trujillo
Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati
10 May 2008 – present
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Angelo Sodano
Cardinal Secretary of State
15 September 2006–present