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Cardinal Bertone steps down after 7 years as Secretary of State

Catholic World News - October 15, 2013

Pope Francis praised Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone for his “attitude of unconditional faithfulness and absolute loyalty to Peter,” as the Italian prelate stepped down from his position as Vatican Secretary of State.

In a short ceremony at the Vatican on October 15, Pope Francis said that he was “profoundly grateful” to Cardinal Bertone for his service, and added that he was also speaking for Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, who had appointed Cardinal Bertone to the Vatican’s #2 post in 2006.

“Seven years of hard work, lived with great generosity and in the spirit of service,” the Pope remarked, as he thanked the outgoing Secretary of State for his service and his expertise. At the age of 78, Cardinal Bertone is now retiring—although he will retain his mostly ceremonial position as Chamberlain of the Holy See.

“Finally, I would like to thank you also for the courage and patience with which you have faced adversities – and there have been many,” the Pope said, acknowledging the difficulties that had beset the Secretariat of State in recent months, and led to calls for a change in leadership.

In his own remarks, Cardinal Bertone thanked Pope Francis, and voiced his hope that his successor, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, would be able to “untangle the knots” that impede the Church’s ministry.

Looking back across his term of service, Cardinal Bertone said that Pope Benedict XVI should be recognized as a “reformer of consciences and of the clergy.” He took special notice of the former Pontiff’s efforts to address “the shameful phenomenon of pedophilia,” as well as his reforms of Vatican economic affairs. “Today I see in Pope Francis not so much a revolution but rather continuity from Pope Benedict XVI,” the outgoing Secretary of State remarked.

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