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Pope Francis

Pope names a Special Envoy for Medjugorje

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Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone: Keeping the secret of Benedict XVI's resignation was a tremendous burden

2014-02-11

In a rare interview, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who served as Benedict XVI's main collaborator during his papacy, sat down with ROME REPORTS to talk about the historic resignation and everything in between. 

Even though Bertone retired in October, he has kept a pretty busy schedule. 

CARD. TARCISIO BERTONE
"I'm doing just fine. I'm very busy with work , so I don't have a lot of free time, because I participate in the activities of different dicasteries in the Roman Curia. I'm also busy with meetings and audiences depending on my availability. Then, out of my speaking engagements come many requests.” 

Cardinal Bertone, who as Secretary of State held the Vatican's number two post, also talked about when Benedict XVI started considering his resignation. 

CARD. TARCISIO BERTONE
"Pope Benedict XVI thought about this decision long before announcing it. He told me about it in mid-2012. I told the Pope all the problems that could arise if he did so. But, he felt tired, his age weighed on him. He was concerned with World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. He would ask himself, 'At my age, how will I, address millions of young people?' 

So, for months Bertone kept it a secret, until  Benedict XVI's historic announcement on February 11th, 2013. 

CARD. TARCISIO BERTONE
"Keeping this secret for so long, as the Church carried out business as usual, including all the troubles and controversies that were going on at that time, it was a tremendous burden. I would think about all the interpretations that would come from this historic announcement.” 

Of course, when Benedict XVI announced his resignation, one of the main question was how two Popes would live at the Vatican. But time has proven that this dynamic situation is actually quite simple. 

CARD. TARCISIO BERTONE
"The life of Pope Benedict, our Pope Emeritus and Pope Francis is a life that's lived out peacefully, in harmony and one that doesn't erase the presence of Benedict XVI. Resigning has triggered a great love and appreciation from the Universal Church towards Pope Benedict. In fact, even Pope Francis honors Pope Benedict by describing him like a grandfather and wise confidant. He cares for him quite deeply and he visits him. It's a beautiful and fraternal gesture and also a lesson on how we should treat the elderly. As Pope Francis has said time and time again, the elderly hold the patrimony of wisdom, the patrimony of faith and the patrimony of spiritual life. They pass it on to the youth.” 

Tarcisio Bertone began working closely with then Cardinal Ratzinger back in 1995 when he held the number two post at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A year after being elected Pope, he became Benedict XVI's closest collaborator. To highlight this part of his life, now Bertone is considering writing a book that sheds light on this chapter in his life and the life of the Church. 


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