In an interview with Italian Pauline magazine “Famiglia Cristiana”, Cardinal Bertone speaks about the Vatican document leak and IOR scandals: “There is no sign of any cardinals being involved or of disputes between clerics”-ANDREA TORNIELLI-VATICAN CITY
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s main collaborator spoke again about the Vatican leak scandal following his visit to Poland, where he “experienced a totally different climate from the foul play and lies spread in recent months.” He did so in a long interview with Fr. Antonio Sciortino, director of Italian Pauline magazine Famiglia Cristiana.
“We are facing difficult times. None of us intends to hide the shadows and defects of the Church. Te Holy Father continues to invite all of us, starting with those with roles of responsibility to change their lives around. Not just by purifying our behaviour but also through our increased dedication to doing good.” But Bertone also pointed out that “we find ourselves in an Italian context which is spread universally, to parts of the world where the echoes are muted. Other countries find it difficult to understand the fierceness of certain Italian newspapers.” According to the Secretary of State, abroad “one gets a better idea of how the publication of a number of letters and documents sent to the Holy Father by people who have a right to privacy, constitutes – as we have stressed a number of times – an immoral act of unprecedented gravity. It is an offense against a right which is explicitly recognized by the Italian constitution, which should be severely observed and enforced.”
Ratzinger’s right hand man asked himself whether a citizen’s right to privacy still applies to civil society: “If someone who writes to the Pope has a right which is guaranteed by the Italian constitution violated, it is only natural that they should have a problem with this. It is only natural that the book published recently (Sua Santità [His Holiness] by Gianluigi Nuzzi, Ed.) and the letters published in newspapers should raise certain questions. Does the Constitution, the pact that keeps a population united and gives it common objectives split individuals into first and second class citizens? If the person writing is a Christian, are his or her rights less guaranteed by the Constitution than the rights of another person?”
In terms of the reasons that lie behind the Vatileaks operation, Bertone stated: "The great project of clarification and purification of Benedict XVI, ever since he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in tune with John Paul I certainly has bothered some people, and still does. His action to eliminate episodes of paedophilia among the clergy, to cite just one example, has shown that the church has a capacity of re-generation that other institutions and persons don't. The church is a rock that resists storms. It's an unequivocal point of reference for countless persons and institutions throughout the world and for this reason there's an effort to destabilize it." According to the Secretary of State, “many journalists play at the imitation of Dan Brown, inventing fables and legends.” Bertone said the news regarding “a Vatican monsignor” who is allegedly in the Italian city of Genoa “trying to dissuade me from accepting the proposal of Benedict XVI who wanted me as Secretary of State” is completely false.
The cardinal stressed this, denying rumours of a power struggle and affirming that “in actual fact there is a unity in terms of objectives and a collegiality that cannot be found elsewhere.” “Personally - he added - I have seen no sign of any cardinals being involved or of a mysterious power struggle between ecclesiastical figures.” Dialogue has been a tradition in the Church ever since the time of the apostles who were certainly not afraid to stand up for their ideas. They did so without tearing each other to pieces and always recognising Peter’s primacy.”
About the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was arrested last May, Bertone said: “It was this betrayal of the Pope’s trust that caused the most hurt… The Holy Father was saddened not just by the betrayal of a member of his household and because documents were leaked but also because the normal and legitimate dialectics that should exist in the Church takes the form of a clash which seems to want to create a division between friends and enemies.” He revealed that: “On many occasions the Pope himself has asked us concernedly for an explanation of Paolo Gabriele’s actions, a man whom he had loved like a son.” Bertone recalled that investigations” are still underway” and the establishment of a cardinals’ commission that reports directly to the Pope “shows Benedict XVI’s eagerness to shed complete light on the affair.”
About himself, the Secretary of State affirmed: “I am at the centre of this struggle. And I am saddened by what is going on, but I also see the support of the real Church and the people from all circles who show me their affection and unity. I have been sent numerous letters by cardinals, prelates and simple faithful expressing their solidarity. There is a relentless and repeated attempt to separate and create rifts between the Holy Father and his collaborators. As well as between collaborators themselves. It seems to me they are trying to hit those who show the greatest passion and work the hardest for the good of the Church and the community.”
Bertone also addressed the question of the Vatican bank (IOR) and the dismissal or its former president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi: “The question regarding the IOR’s former president is clear - the cardinal stated -. The publication of the interventions made by the supervisory Council shows that his removal was not to do with internal doubts as to his support of transparency, but because of deterioration in relations between councillors, due to differences in positions, which led to thedecision for change. Furthermore, regardless of the past scandals (which are focused on a lot and periodically mentioned in order to generate mistrust against this Vatican institution), the IOR had laid down precise rules well before the anti-money laundering law was introduced.”
“The current supervisory Council - Bertone continued – which is made up of other figures from the economic and financial world, continued and stressed this line of clarity and transparency and is working towards restoring the respect the institution deserves, on an international scale. The IOR’s purpose is to work for the Holy Father, the bishops and the religious institutions, helping them to carry out all the good work the Church does throughout the world. When we send out aid to those facing situations of great hardship we need to have the technical resources to operate. I renew my full trust in the heads of the IOR. And I invite others to share in this trust, since the IOR’s willingness to be transparent is undeniable. This willingness has always guided my actions in particu and those of my collaborators.”
Finally, as regards the meaning of these difficult times, the Secretary of State stated: The Gospel of Matthew recounts Jesus’ words to his disciples: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” This currently applies to the Pope and his collaborators. Being full of joy, even when misfortune and suffering strike, is a gift from the Lord to the Church and the apostles of today.”
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