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BERTONE-STATE Jun-22-2006 (950 words) With photos. xxxi

Cardinal Bertone named to state; foreign minister to run Vatican City

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI reached outside the Vatican diplomatic corps and appointed Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa as his new secretary of state.

The Vatican's June 22 announcement said Cardinal Bertone, 71, will succeed Cardinal Angelo Sodano, 78, on Sept. 15 when the pope will hold a special audience with the staff of the Secretariat of State to publicly thank Cardinal Sodano for his 15 years "of generous service to the Holy See."

Also June 22, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of 78-year-old U.S. Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka as president of the commission governing Vatican City State.

However, the Vatican said, the pope also asked Cardinal Szoka to remain until Sept. 15, when he will be succeeded by 71-year-old Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, currently the Vatican's foreign minister.

Before going to Genoa in 2002, the cardinal spent seven years as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

While Cardinal Sodano and many of his predecessors were trained and served in the Vatican diplomatic corps, the job of secretary of state involves more than overseeing Vatican relations with other countries.

The secretary of state is the pope's closest collaborator, coordinating the work of the entire Roman Curia, overseeing the operation of the Vatican press office and newspaper, coordinating the preparation and publication of papal documents, and supervising the work of Vatican nuncios both in their relations with the Catholic communities in individual countries and with their governments.

In choosing Cardinal Bertone, a Salesian, the pope chose a man with whom he already had a proven working relationship as well as a prelate with pastoral experience in a diocese, expertise as an educator and with a reputation of being energetic and pragmatic.

Even after being transferred to Genoa, Cardinal Bertone was a frequent visitor to Rome and joined Pope Benedict last summer for part of the pope's vacation in the Italian Alps.

While his diplomatic experience has been limited, as archbishop of Genoa he has traveled widely, including a trip to Cuba last October.

Cardinal Bertone, who went to the Caribbean country with two Genoa priests about to begin work as missionaries in Cuba, met privately with President Fidel Castro.

"Castro asked me to transmit an invitation to visit Cuba to Pope Benedict, who he said inspires in him friendship and trust," Cardinal Bertone told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire after the trip.

The cardinal said Castro paid tribute to the church's social service efforts, saying that when it comes to working among the poor and needy "the church is ahead of all of us."

Internationally, though, Cardinal Bertone is best known for his work in the doctrinal congregation.

As secretary of the congregation from 1995 to 2002, he helped work out details of norms employed in U.S. dioceses in cases of sexual abuse by priests.

In 2000, he coordinated the publication of the third secret of Fatima, a symbolic prophecy of the church's 20th-century struggles with evil political systems and its ultimate triumph. The pope had sent him to Portugal to review the Vatican's interpretation with Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, then the only surviving Fatima visionary.

When Sister Lucia died in February 2005, Pope John Paul II asked Cardinal Bertone to preside at her funeral in his name.

In 2002, the cardinal helped guide Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo back into communion with the church, following Archbishop Milingo's brief marriage to a Korean follower of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

At the doctrinal congregation, Cardinal Bertone also worked on early drafts of an education congregation document that said homosexual men should not be accepted as seminary candidates. That document was published in November.

In a 2001 interview, he told Catholic News Service, "Persons with a homosexual inclination should not be admitted to the seminary."

Cardinal Sodano, responding June 22 to interview requests, said he would talk to reporters about his years at the Vatican after he retires.

"Today I only want to express my gratitude to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI," who asked Cardinal Sodano to continue serving as secretary of state "despite the limits of my age."

He praised the "team work" and spirit of service that mark the staff of the Secretariat of State and the other offices of the Roman Curia.

Pope John Paul named Cardinal Sodano secretary of state in late 1990; he had been the Vatican's foreign minister, heading the Secretariat of State's section for relations with states. He had already spent three decades in the Vatican's diplomatic service, mainly in Latin America.

Cardinal Bertone, former archbishop of Vercelli, Italy, holds a doctorate in church law. He spent more than two decades at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome, serving at different periods as university rector, dean of the canon law faculty, theology student director and professor of moral theology.

He participated in the final stages of the revisions of the Code of Canon Law, released in 1983, and was editor of the Italian translation of the code.

Tarcisio Bertone was born Dec. 2, 1934, in Romano Canavese, a town near Turin. He entered the Salesians in 1950 and was ordained a priest 10 years later.

Named to head the Genoa Archdiocese in December 2002, he took office there the following February and was made a cardinal in October 2003.

Cardinal Szoka, the former archbishop of Detroit, has been head of the civil government of Vatican City State since 1997. For the previous seven years, he served as president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Vatican's budget management office.


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