It was completely unexpected. The ceremony was scheduled to be a farewell for Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the swearing in of Msgr. Pietro Parolin as the new Secretary of State. But, Pope Francis announced a change of plans.
"We are gathered here to thank Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who leaves his post as Secretary of State, and to welcome Msgr. Parolin. But we'll have to welcome him despite his absence. He will take possession of his new post a few weeks from today, due to a small surgery he had to go through.”
Speaking before employees of the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Pope thanked Cardinal Bertone for his seven years of service in leading that department.
"At this time, it's a feeling of gratitude I would like to share with you all. Dear Cardinal Tarcisio, I think I also speak for my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI, in thanking you vigorously for your work in these past few years.”
Cardinal Bertone will no longer serve as Secretary of State, but he will remain the Camerlengo, and president of the commission of cardinals which oversees the IOR, or Vatican bank.
CARD. TARCISIO BERTONE
"I visited Fatima for the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity less than a year after the start of my term. I would like to think that all these years I have been under the special protection of Our Lady.”
The Secretariat of State is tasked with the Holy See's diplomatic affairs and it also implements the Pope's decisions. As the department head, the Secretary of State is the main collaborator for Popes.
While Msgr. Parolin recovers from surgery, two people will lead the Vatican Secretariat of State: the number three person at the Vatican, Archbishop Angelo Becciu will oversee internal affairs; while the Secretary for Relations with States Dominique Mamberti will oversee the Vatican's diplomatic relations.