VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2012 ( Benedict XVI has given his own answer to rumors of criticism of his secretary of state, as the Vatican released today a note the Holy Father wrote Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on Monday.

Cardinal Bertone has described himself as "at the center of the fray" in certain scandals involving the Vatican in recent months. For example, the so-called Vatileaks scandal, referring to the publication of confidential Vatican documents, has been characterized in some reports as an attempt to oust Cardinal Bertone.

The Pontiff, however, had this to say to his collaborator:

"On the eve of my departure to spend the summer months at Castel Gandolfo, I wish to express my profound appreciation for your discreet presence and wise counsel, which I have found particularly helpful over recent months.

"Having noted with sorrow the unjust criticisms that have been directed against your person, I wish to reiterate the expression of my personal confidence, which I already declared to you in a letter on 15 January 2010, the contents of which remain unchanged as far as I am concerned.

"In entrusting your ministry to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, and to that of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, it is my pleasure to send you a fraternal greeting, accompanied by an apostolic blessing as a sign of all desired goodness."

In an interview in June, Cardinal Bertone said he has been "living these events with sorrow but also seeing the real Church constantly at my side."

According to the secretary of state there is a “relentless and repeated attempt to separate, to create divisions between the Holy Father and his collaborators, and between the collaborators themselves.”

There is a desire to “strike those who are dedicated with greater passion and also greater personal toil for the good of the Church.”