VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI confirmed that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will continue to serve as his secretary of state despite the fact that the Salesian turned 75 last month, thus making him eligible for retirement.
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported this week on a letter written by the Pope in which he reveals his intention to keep Cardinal Bertone on as secretary of state.
In the text, the Pontiff recalls “with heartfelt recognition” the “long journey” of collaboration with the cardinal, which began with his work as a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Holy Father underlined in particular the “delicate work” carried out by the cardinal “to build the dialogue with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre,” who is the founder of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.
Called by John Paul II to render service in the Roman Curia, Cardinal Bertone “carried out with competence and generous devotion the office of secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” during “intense and demanding years, in which documents were born of great doctrinal and disciplinary importance,” said Benedict XVI.
“I have always admired his ‘sensus fidei,’ his doctrinal and canonical preparation and his ‘humanitas,’ which helped us very much to live, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a climate of genuine familiarity, unity and a decisive and determined discipline of work,” the Pope continued.
“All these qualities were the reason that led me to the decision, in the summer of 2006, to appoint him my secretary of state, and are today the reason why, also in the future, I would not like to give up his valuable collaboration,” he added.
Cardinal Bertone, a Salesian, was born in Romano Canavese, Turin, on Dec. 2, 1934, and was ordained priest in 1960.
He obtained a licentiate in sacred theology from the Salesian Theological Faculty of Turin, continuing his studies later in Rome at the Pontifical Salesian Athenaeum, where he obtained a licentiate and doctorate in canon law.
Along with an intense teaching activity, he collaborated in the last phase of the revision of the Code of Canon Law and directed the working group that translated the code into Italian.
In 1989, he was elected University Rector of the Salesian University. In 1991, Pope John Paul II called him to lead the Archdiocese of Vercelli.
In 1995, he was appointed secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and in 2002 he was named archbishop of Genoa.
He was created cardinal in 2003, and in 2006 was named by Benedict XVI as his secretary of state.