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German cardinal urged Pope to fire Secretary of State

February 14, 2013

Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne has revealed that he pleaded with Pope Benedict XVI to replace the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, but the Pontiff firmly refused.

Cardinal Meisner told Frankfurter Rundschau that he approached the Pontiff, speaking on behalf of several cardinals, to demand a change at the Secretariat of State because Cardinal Bertone had proven incapable of handling his office. The German cardinal said that Pope Benedict dismissed the suggestion immediately, showing his loyalty to Cardinal Bertone. Cardinal Meisner recalled:

During the Williamson affair, I even once, on behalf of a number of cardinals, went to the Pope and said: "Holy Father, you have to dismiss Cardinal Bertone! He's in charge--as would be the responsible minister in a secular government.” He looked at me and said, ‘Listen to me carefully! Bertone remains! Basta! Basta! Basta!” After that I never brought up the subject again.”


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  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Feb. 14, 2013 6:57 PM ET USA

    This was foolish of him to say in public. This is only going to create a huge division in the Conclave. I'm not as optimistic as Father Lombardi that we will have a new Pope by Easter.