VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed his trust in the Vatican’s secretary of state and defended him against a barrage of “unjust criticism” in the Italian media.
In a letter addressed to “dear brother” Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 77, the pope expressed his “profound appreciation for your discreet presence and wise counsel, which I have found particularly helpful over recent months.”
The Vatican has had to face a number of challenges recently, including leaks of confidential correspondence to the pope and the Secretariat of State; the arrest of the pope’s personal assistant in connection to the leaks; and the ouster of the Vatican bank’s president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, for neglecting his duties amid worsening management problems.
Italian media had been speculating that Cardinal Bertone would soon be replaced as secretary of state because of the Vatican infighting revealed in the leaks scandal.
The cardinal formally requested permission to step down when he reached the usual retirement age of 75 in 2010, but the pope renewed the cardinal’s mandate to continue serving as the Vatican’s No. 2 official.
“Having noted with sorrow the unjust criticisms that have been directed against you, I wish to reiterate the expression of my personal confidence,” the pope wrote in the letter, dated July 2. The Vatican released a copy July 4.
The cardinal, who is a Salesian priest, served under the future Pope Benedict as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1995 to 2002, when then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the congregation’s prefect.
The pope named him as Vatican secretary of state in 2006.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103