Aug 31, 2013

Bertone Out

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Cardinal Bertone photo Bertone_zps29045956.jpg

Pope Francis is continuing to remake the Church in his image, replacing the divisive Tarcisio Bertone with more of a people person who reportedly shares his preference for frugality.

Pope Francis on Saturday appointed a senior Vatican diplomat as his new Secretary of State, ousting divisive cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as he looks to overhaul the Church's scandal-ridden administration.

His replacement for the "number two" position at the Vatican, Italian cleric Pietro Parolin, is currently the Catholic Church's envoy to Venezuela and has worked on improving ties with communist China.

"The Holy Father has accepted... the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone," the Vatican said in a widely-expected announcement, adding that the changeover would formally take place on October 15.

There have been rumblings about Bertone for a while. He's been badly tainted by the sheer volume of scandal that has consumed the Vatican.

One of the most damaging scandals to hit the Vatican under Bertone was "Vatileaks", when Benedict's butler stole documents alleging corruption from the pope's desk and leaked them to the media.

That coincided with tumult at the Vatican bank, which Italian magistrates are investigating on suspicion of money laundering.

The former president of the bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was close to Bertone. The board of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), ousted Gotti Tedeschi last year, saying he was incompetent. He says he was pushed out because he wanted the bank to be more transparent.

Fairly, or unfairly, Bertone has been widely blamed for the failings of Pope Benedict's reign. It doesn't help that he has a penchant for saying and doing really idiotic things. Let us reflect on some of Bertone's greatest hits as they've been recorded on this blog.

Letting prolific pedophiles like Wisconsin's Lawrence Murphy off the hook:

In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.

Blaming the Church's pedophilia problem on gay priests.

The Vatican's second-highest authority says the sex scandals haunting the Roman Catholic Church are linked to homosexuality and not celibacy among priests.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, made the comments during a news conference Monday in Chile, where one of the church's highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls.

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true," said Bertone. "That is the problem."

Blaming Dan Brown, the media, and, of course, the devil, for the Church's problems:

The Vatican's No. 2 official on Monday blamed the media – and the devil – for fueling the scandal over leaked Vatican documents.

Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told an Italian Catholic weekly that journalists reporting on the leaks scandal are "pretending to be Dan Brown ... inventing stories and replaying legends." The reference to Brown is particularly acute; Brown wrote "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" the best-selling fictional accounts of power struggles and scandals inside the Catholic Church.

. . .

"The truth is that there's a will to create division that comes from the devil," he said. The interview is due on newsstands Thursday but was made available to journalists Monday.

As much I love unintentional humor, I wouldn't mind seeing the last of Cardinal Bertone.

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