Skip to comments.Pope gradually reshuffles Vatican - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to be Secretary of State
Posted on 06/20/2006 6:54:44 AM PDT by NYer
(ANSA) - Rome, June 19 - The most important move in Pope Benedict XVI's reshaping of the Vatican administration after his election in 2005 will be announced soon, according to Vatican-watchers in Italy .
The current Vatican Secretary of State, the 79-year-old Cardinal Angelo Sodano, is widely expected to step down later this year and Benedict must choose a replacement .
It is a crucial choice because the holder of the position, akin to that of a prime minister, is second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy. He is in charge of all the political and diplomatic activities of the Holy See and so wields enormous power .
According to persistent rumours, the job will go to one of Benedict's closest collaborators over the last ten years, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the archbishop of Genoa .
Bertone, 71, worked for eight years as the pope's number 2 at the Vatican's doctrinal department, before being sent to head the Genoa archdiocese in 2003. The two are said to be very close .
Benedict has already signed the appointment and the only thing left to decide is the date of the hand-over, the Italian media reported over the weekend, speculating that it could be in November, when Cardinal Sodano turns 80 .
"It's all in the hands of God and the pope," the Italian prelate said earlier this month, evading questions about his possible return to the Vatican after three years in Genoa .
Sources at the Genoa curia said at the weekend that no official communication had yet arrived from the Vatican concerning Bertone .
Bertone, a conservative on doctrine, was in the public eye recently as one of the leading campaigners against the film and book The Da Vinci Code. He has also drawn attention by doing radio commentaries at football matches and by joking that a Vatican ban on human cloning might be relaxed if it meant having more examples of actress Sofia Loren .
Although most analysts agree that a new secretary of state is inevitable soon, some point out that the German pontiff has shown that he never rushes into anything .
His expected realignment of the Roman Curia - the headquarters of the global Catholic Church - only really got under way this spring, almost a year after his election .
In March, the Pontifical Council for Culture was merged with the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, leading to speculation that the pope wanted to make sure relations with other faiths did not end up diluting catholic identity .
The head of Inter-religious dialogue was sent to be papal ambassador, or nuncio, in Egypt, where his skills were expected to be put to work in relations with Islam. The Vatican's Justice and Peace department was also merged with the office for Migrants and Refugees as part of moves to make the Curia a slimmer, more streamlined organisation. Then, in May, polyglot Indian cardinal Ivan Dias, the archbishop of Bombay, was called to take over at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples, which coordinates missionary work in Asia, Africa and Latin America .
The Italian cardinal who had been the chief was sent to be archbishop of Naples .
Meanwhile, a change which will be much more visible to the media is expected shortly. Joaquin Navarro Valls, the chief Vatican spokesman for the last 22 years, has revealed that he has asked the pope to replace him .
Navarro Valls, 69, whose face became familiar to millions as he headed John Paul II's media operations, agreed to stay on for Benedict for a time. He said he thought it was "time for a change"
He has also drawn attention by doing radio commentaries at football matches and by joking that a Vatican ban on human cloning might be relaxed if it meant having more examples of actress Sofia Loren.
Now that's funny.
I like Pope Benedict's sense of humor - I think he's playing games with the "Vatican experts." I wonder when one of them will publicly blow up over the Pope's failure to do what they've endlessly predicted he'll do.
It is interesting to see more church conservatives (particularly from dotrina's office) moving into positions of power. We could all be speaking Latin in mass by the end of the year!
"We could all be speaking Latin in mass by the end of the year!"
Not unless the Holy Father sends the Swiss Guard to America and forces the bishops to do it at the point of a halberd.
Which I would love to see.
lol, I wouldn't complain.
It is high time that the US bishops be reined in. I'm hoping that the ultraconservativeness and huge cashflows that Opus Dei seems to get will stick in the minds of our Church's leaders in the US as a motivation to be more orthodox.
"He has also drawn attention by doing radio commentaries at football matches and by joking that a Vatican ban on human cloning might be relaxed if it meant having more examples of actress Sofia Loren."
She made a movie called "The Priest's Wife".
Wonder if that had anything to do with that comment? Hmmmm.....
At least he's straight.
Ah, what an image!
Someone please lock Cardinal Sodano, Cardinal Martini, and Cardinal McCarrick in a prison monastery somewhere in the Atlas Mountains please....
:) I second the motion!
And throw away the key ;-)
Are you suggesting that the American bishops have money as their first priority? If so, how about eliminating the USCCB and its enormous staff??
I don't know about money, but orthodoxy doesn't seem to be much of a priority in the US anymore.