Monday, September 02, 2013

Bertone: Crows and Vipers in the Vatican


Cardinal Bertone isn't going quietly according to the Guardian, he speaks "crows" and vipers" in the Vatican: 
I see the record of the past seven years as positive. Of course, there were a lot of problems, especially in the last two years," he said, according to the Ansa news agency, hitting out at "a combination of crows and vipers".
"But this should not cloud what I consider to be a positive record," he added. The Italian word corvo (crow) is used pejoratively to describe informants or people who leak secrets.
The final years of Benedict's papacy were overshadowed by scandal, most prominently the so-called "Vatileaks" affair that depicted the Vatican's swollen bureaucracy as a hotbed of conspiracy and cronyism.
Bertone, who was appointed by Benedict in 2006 to occupy a role often described as the Vatican's prime minister, was blamed for much of the papacy's disfunction and poor decision-making. The German pontiff came under pressure from some senior clerics to fire Bertone, but refused.
"I always gave everything but certainly I had my shortcomings," said Bertone, 78, on Sunday. "But this does not mean that I did not try to serve the church."
He said it was not true that the secretary of state "decides and controls everything" within the Vatican.

File:Cardinal tarcisio bertone.JPGI think Bertone's 'incompetence' has been greatly talked up by those crows and vipers in order to sabotage Pope Benedict. I might be remembered that Cardinal Angelo Sodano only made way for Bertone, after three three months of Sodano tying up loose ends, he only moved out of the Secretary's traditional apartment in the Apostolic Palace after a few more months leaving Bertone cooped up for months in St John's Tower in the Gardens, when various of his close collaborators were given jobs in various Vatican department including the IOR. Bertone found many of those who should have been close collaborators actually refused to work with him from the beginning of Pope Benedict's Papacy, hence the large number of fellow Salesians who were moved into key position in the Secretariate of State.

Sodano.jpgThroughout the last years of the JPII papacy there were tussles between Sodano at the Secretariate and Ratzinger at the CDF, the most notable was over the investigation into child abuse: Ratzinger wanted an full and frank investigation, Sodano until a few years ago regarded it as mere press 'tittle-tattle'. Matter grew worst when as Pope Ratzinger command Marcel Maciel, who was a friend of Sodano's should retire to a life of prayer and penitence. Cardinal Schönborn had already complained that Sodano had stopped the investigation into the accusation made against his predecessor Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër's.

Many of those who work with Vatican Radio and the media were appointees of Cardinal Sodano, perhaps it might be too much suggest that those in close relation wcasorolith media have been briefing against not only Bertone but Benedict himself. There are various other scandals involving the Cardinal and hiss not too competent architect nephew Andrea Sodano in the Raffaello Follieri affair that involve money laundering and inflated bills for various works around the Vatican.

As Cardinal Dean Sodano was still a key player, though at 86 not a voting Cardinal, in the last Conclave, and in the eight years of preparation for the election of Pope Francis who according to widespread rumour was the runner up in the election of Pope Benedict. As Casaroli had been Sodano's mentor, so Sodano seems to have been the mentor of the new Secretary of State Mgsr Pietro Parolin.

It will be interesting to see if any real clean up takes place in the Vatican sewers, and what the former Secretary of State has to say, a memoir would be useful, if anything his fault seems to have been about too much transparency, for the good of the Church let us hope it continues.

18 comments:

Genty said...

What I don't understand, and perhaps someone can enlighten me, is why a Pope and his second-in-command could not have dispatched all the known crows and vipers to exile far away from the Vatican, starting with Cardinal Sodano.

Fr Ray Blake said...

A lack of ruthlessnes on one side and utter and deep seated ruthlessness that had gone back for at least two generation of Secretaries, as well as a staff at all levels that was loyal not to the Pope but to Sodano.

I am trying to illustrate how deep seated the corruption, patronage and sense of fear goes.

gemoftheocean said...

If only the Holy Spirit had listened to me, Pope Burke would be well on the way to cleaning out the Augean stables, but noooooooooooooooooo.....

It really angers me that we were finally getting somewhere with the child abuse scandal that Pope Benedict rightly was trying to tear out at the roots of the problem....then along come Pope "call me Frankie " and his manana ways....

Because of that abuse, it held and will continue to hold other corrupt blackmailer types in positions of power. "Well, if you come after me on the banking scandal (or scandal Z), I will reveal all on how X was a pervert." Which might shut Y up.

If the flashlight is shined on the rats and they have no where to hide, those in the shadows have no leverage.

EuropeanCatholic said...

Pope Benedict was betrayed and let down by so many people in the Church.

In the end, the wolves devoured him.

Cardinal Bertone is one of the good guys.

Sr Paulina said...

I worked in Rome going back and forth for twelve years helping the stranded refugees from Africa and know the hardships, the insensativity, the lack of any kind of charity and compassion from the Vatican, at least what I saw. It was so painful really to see this and I pray that they are knocked off their horse and find a new heart where they can be servants of the Lord, reaching out to the poor rather than being served themselves as if they were other gods.

Hughie said...

I apologise in advance if this is a wee bit long. It is always hazardous attempting to read the Vatican runes from the West of Scotland but I feel sure that a radical restructuring of the Secretariat of State is imminent.

At the same time as it was officially reported that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Secretary of State Bertone, but putting its execution on hold to October 15, and appointing Mgr Parolin to succeed him, with the same condition applied, he was also reported to have confirmed in their offices the other superiors of the Secretariat of State. These are (as given in the official report with the exception of the three bits in brackets): Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, sostituto, that is Secretariat of State Substitute for General Affairs; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household; Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State (and President of the Financial Security Committee); and, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States (and a Member of the Financial Security Committee). Although they were not mentioned in the announcement as their positions, although senior, do not strictly qualify as “superiors”, it may be assumed that Archbishop Luciano Suriani (a classmate of Mgr Pater Magee, President of the Scottish Tribunal, at the Pontifical Eccesiastcal Academy), Delegate for Pontifical Representations, and, Msgr. José Avelino Bettencourt, Head of Protocol, have also been confirmed in position.

The important point here is that Pope Francis has included in this group Archbishop Ganswein as if the Papal Household were part of the Secretariat of State. IT ISN’T. At least not yet. (As far as I understand it, strictly speaking the Papal Household isn’t even in fact a part of the Roman Curia at all although, obviously, its officials are usually drawn from within it; for example Cardinal Harvey was previously an official in the Secretariat of State, assessore of the sostituto.) This may well indicate that in any rearrangement to come of the Secretariat, the Papal Household will be formally incorporated into it, or rather into its remnant based on the First Section. Incorporating the Papal Household into the First Section does not make any sense other than in the context of the First and Second Sections being formally separated.

This impression is reinforced when noting that the report adverted to above was accompanied by another which informed that Pope Francis had on Saturday evening within the Domus Sanctae Martha Guesthouse “received in a group audience Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States; Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State; Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-Secretary for Relations with States; and Msgr. Alberto Ortega Martin, official of the Secretariat of State for Relations with States.”

Now Cardinal Sandri's resence may have been entirely coincidental. However, what if it were not? It will be recalled that not only was he widely regarded as papabile before the recent conclave, he was also touted as a possible replacement for Cardinal Secretary of State Bertone after it. Bearing in mind that he is another Italo-Argentinian and is well known to Pope Francis on a personal level, but most especially also recalling that he is also a former sostituto, does it not make sense to ask IF Pope Francis intends to establish the Section for Relations with States as a dicastery in its own right, who better to be its first Cardinal Prefect than Cardinal Sandri?

GOR said...

While Ab. Parolin may have been ‘mentored’ by Cdl. Sodano – which bothered me a bit when I first read of it - I don’t think he will be anything like him. From what little I read about him so far he seems very levelheaded and diplomatic.

His experiences with South America, Africa and Vietnam should stand him in good stead - and he has been far removed from Curial machinations for some time. Additionally, given Pope Francis’ views on humility, openness and accessibility, I suspect the role of the Secretary of State will be quite different in this papacy.

nickbris said...

What does it all mean?

Francis said...

I wonder if some of these machinations are an Italian attempt to control the institution of the papacy, given that we are now on our third non-Italian pontiff? If I was a senior Italian cleric working at the Vatican, who had been brought up to believe that the papacy was Italian birthright, I would find this string of foreigners in white a little hard to stomach...

Fr Ray Blake said...

Francis, I am sure that is one issue, of course if it isn't an Italian, then a S. American of Italian origin, who doesn't speak other languages is next best.
But I am not sure that just any Italian would be acceptable to this group, because ultimately it is a matter of control.

Supertradmum said...

We have had a generation of non-Italian popes and now another one. Ii seems to me the Italians would be jockeying for power more than ever at this juncture, with a better chance under this pope who does not want to be pope, as good a man as he is.

The two things which must be dealt with absolutely are the homosexual rings in the Vatican and the child abuse scandals. Then, after that, I am sure there is a list........

Damask Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nic M said...

If memory serves me correctly, it was the last week of January 2009 that Pope Benedict found him self at the center of an orchestrated media outrage frenzy (which followed the lifting of the excommunications against Bp. Williamson and his fellow SSPX bishops).

Cardinal Bertone was nowhere to be found while his friend and patron became the target of all sorts of calumnies and insults. Perhaps I'm being unfair and Bertone had a valid excuse for his absence (such as being abducted by aliens). However, this sort of behavior shows that the wolves and crows are aided and abetted by the cowardice of men of good will.

Hughie said...

I did say that it is "always hazardous attempting to read the Vatican runes from the West of Scotland". If proof be needed, I now think that I may have read more into Pope Francis's "group audience" with Cardinals Bertone and Sandri and the others last Saturday eveing.

The reason I now think that I may have read to much into this is that I have since lerned that Mgr Alberto Ortega Martin, simply described in the report as an "official of the Secretariat of State for Relations with States", is in fact the Secretariat's expert on the Middle East. When I add that one fact to what I previously knew, that in dealings within the Middle East the Secretariat of State routinely call on the expertise of the staff of the Congregation for the Oriental (Eastern Rite) Churches, then it puts the matter in a different light.

In all probability the main item on their agenda would undoubtedly have been Syria and all that that involves for the prospects of peace throughout the region.

But that doesn't mean that my intuition is wrong and that radical change in the Secretariat of State, predicated on the decoupling of the Section for Relations with States, is not afoot.

PS: The presence of Mgr Wells at the meeting is highly significant. He seems to be Pope Francis's main man.

johnf said...

I've made this point on the Archbishop Mennini facebook site, but it's worth making again. In every organisation except one, when a senior officer retires, he is given his gold watch or marble clock, he leaves the stage is never seen again - he tends his geraniums or something. The exception is the Catholic Church, where Cardinals past voting age are allowed to stay around to cause their own mayhem. Sodano is 86 for heaven's sake. Why isn't he out to grass somewhere? CMOC is another example of plotting and politicking well past his sell by date.

My suggestion is to send them all to St Kilda a storm swept island off the Scottish mainland. There are crofts that can be renovated to make hermit cells. There are plenty of gulls eggs to live on, and in extremis, food could be dropped by aircraft.

There they can pray and study and be out of harms way!

Like Dean Swift - a modest proposal.

nickbris said...

Politicking is a dangerous game,we are just the spear-carriers and have to be obedient for the sake of the Church.Constantly bellyaching about things we know nothing about can only lead to ruination

Gratias said...

In November 2012, the day after our presidential election, we attended a Mass in which St. Peter's was packed full of polish pilgrims. Cardinal Bertone officiated. Novus Ordo but reverent, with all Bertone's lines in perfect Latin, redings and sermon in Polish. As processing out, the good Cardinal dove straight into the sea of faithful and shook hands with probably hundreds. He was clearly at peace and enjoyed being a Priest enormously. I realized Bertone was a very Holy man.

Incidentally, at that Mass of at least 5,000 Poles EVERYONE received communion kneeling on the ground. The way it should be.

Catholicus said...

Bertone simply didn't do his proper job. The Secretary of State is fundamentally a desk job, it's Leo Mc Garry in the West Wing, not Vice President. Bertone spent far too much time travelling, attending conferences, preaching, giving sermons and talks. He should have been reading, directing, instructing. That said, Sodano is a gangster.