July 11, 2010.
Of all the members of the Catholic Church, none is more visible than the pope. But as a high-office holder and close friend of Benedict XVI, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is surely one of the most recognizable clergy.
The Pope received Bertone and other priests on July 5 to recognize their 50th year as priests. Bertone has been Vatican Secretary of State since 2006, and was also named Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in 2007.
The Pope's Secretary of State oversees the Church's day-to-day operations. In January the pope gave Bertone a vote of confidence by asking him to remain in his role past the age of 75, the normal age for retirement.
A Salesian of Don Bosco, Bertone was entrusted with the publication of the third secret of Fátima in the year 2000. He served as No. 2 official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for then-Cardinal Ratzinger from 1995 until 2002.
Bertone is also a confidant of Benedict XVI. In a letter to him for his 50th year as a priest, Benedict XVI wrote: “Between us there’s a reciprocal and constant familiarity, which comes from finding ourselves together almost every day.”
That closeness with the pope has brought Bertone down a path of authority and responsibility—a path that began more than 50 years ago today.