Religion Wiki
No Title
[[Cardinal tarcisio bertone|250px]]

No Title

No information

Tarcisio Bertone, SDB (born 2 December 1934) is an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as Vatican Secretary of State and Camerlengo, having previously served as Archbishop of Vercelli from 1991 to 1995 and Archbishop of Genoa from 2002 to 2006. Bertone was elevated to the cardinalate in 2003.

On 10 May 2008, he was named Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati upon the death of Alfonso López Trujillo.

Early life[]

Bertone was born in Romano Canavese, Piedmont, the fifth of eight children. He revealed his mother was a determined anti-Fascist militant of the Italian Popular Party, and later a Christian Democrat.

He professed his vows as a member of the Salesians on 3 December 1950, and was ordained a priest by Archbishop Albino Mensa on 1 July 1960. He holds a doctorate in Canon law; his dissertation was entitled, The Governance of the Church in the Thought of Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758).[1] He served as Professor of Special Moral Theology at the Pontifical Salesian University from 1967 until his appointment as Professor of Canon Law in 1976, a post he held until 1991. He was a visiting professor of Public Ecclesiastical Law at the Institute Utriusque Iuris of the Pontifical Lateran University in 1978. In 1988 he was appointed to a group of experts that assisted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the negotiations with the then-excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. He was also commissioned by Pope John Paul II to assist Emmanuel Milingo, Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, in returning to the Catholic Church in 2001. Milingo had left the Church to marry Maria Sung of the Moon sect.[2]

Archbishop and Cardinal[]

On 4 July 1991, Bertone was appointed Archbishop of Vercelli by Pope John Paul II. He was consecrated a bishop one month later by Archbishop Mensa, who had also ordained him. He held this post until his resignation in 1995 upon being named Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict XVI. Appointed Archbishop of Genoa on 10 December 2002 and installed on 2 February 2003, Bertone was elevated to the College of Cardinals in the consistory of 21 October 2003, as Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Via Tuscolana (pro hac vice a title). Archbishop Angelo Amato succeeded Cardinal Bertone as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

As a member of the Society of Don Bosco, he is still considered as a priest who has undertaken work with youth who, in Pope John Paul's last words, he had sought throughout his papacy. There was a story that "Bertone’s priest secretary recalled for the paper an occasion in which Bertone decided to take a public bus to the Apostolic Palace. As the Cardinal in his long black cassock and red fascia strode on to the bus, the people—especially a group of young people—stared in silence. Bertone immediately broke the ice with his “characteristic” smile. By the time he reached his destination the prelate had engaged the youth in a deep conversation on love, sex, virginity, and chastity".[3]

Moreover, Bertone's dissertation on tolerance and religious freedom has given him a good start as a theologian and canonist in a crisis-ridden world. He actually later specialized in the relationship between social morality, faith and politics. He also helped in the revision of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and undertook pastoral work in parishes.

In the Jubilee Year 2000, Cardinal Bertone was entrusted by John Paul II with the publication of the third part of the secret of Fatima.

Bertone was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Bertone remains eligible to vote in any future conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on 2 December 2014.

Styles of
Tarcisio Bertone
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Frascati (Suburbicarian)

On 15 March 2005, Bertone was in the news for "breaking the Church's silence" and sharply criticizing Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, saying the book's central concept that Jesus had been married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a bloodline was heresy and "shameful", and that believers should boycott the book. Both Bertone and official Vatican spokespeople insisted that Bertone was not speaking as an official representative of the Church, but it was also noted that Bertone's high placement within the Church hierarchy (his name was often cited as a potential candidate for the next pontiff) gave his words considerable weight, such that his comments were often reported by various media as an official statement from the Vatican.[4] In 2006, the NBC news program Dateline described his statement as "a high-ranking Vatican Cardinal called for a boycott of the film."

Cardinal Secretary of State[]

On 22 June 2006, Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Bertone to replace Angelo Sodano as the Cardinal Secretary of State, assuming the office on 15 September of that same year. It was revealed on the following 31 August that Cardinal Bertone had a dream in which Pope John Paul II spoke to him saying "do not be afraid" to the Cardinal as he prepares to take his new job.[5]

On 4 April 2007, Benedict XVI also appointed Cardinal Bertone as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (or Camerlengo) in succession to Eduardo Martínez Somalo, who reached his eightieth birthday on the previous 31 March. The duties of the Camerlengo are largely confined to administration during the vacancy of the Holy See. Bertone remains eligible to vote in any future conclaves that occur before his 80th birthday on 2 December 2014. On 10 May 2008 he was promoted to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati,[6] following the death of Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo on 19 April.

Bertone is known to study the problem at hand before taking action. One such example is when after he was named bishop he "locked himself in his room all night and studied the life of Saint Eusebius, who was bishop of the city back in 345 AD".[3]

Evaluation of dicasteries[]

Two weeks before entering office, Bertone was interviewed and asked his opinion about reforms of the Roman Curia. Bertone remarked, "After almost two decades, an evaluation of how the dicasteries are organised is more than comprehensible, in order to reflect on how to make the existing structures more efficient for the mission of the Church and eventually to consider whether all of them should be maintained".[7]

Church and sports[]

Cardinal Bertone suggested in December 2006 that the Holy See "could, in future, field a team that plays at the top level, with Roma, Inter Milan, Genoa and Sampdoria." He continued by saying, "If we just take the Brazilian students from our Pontifical universities we could have a magnificent squad".[8] However, only hours later he said, "I've got much more to do than cultivating a football squad for the Vatican".

Defense of Pius XII[]

On 5 June 2007, at a conference announcing the release of a new biography of Pope Pius XII, Bertone defended Pius against claims of indifference toward the Jews during The Holocaust. The Cardinal condemned this accusation as a "black legend" and "an attack on good sense and on rationality", which has "become so firmly established that even to scratch it is an arduous task".[9] Although he admitted that Pius XII had been "cautious" in condemning Nazi Germany, Bertone stated that Nazi forces would have intensified its program of genocide had the Pope been more outspoken.

Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy[]

On 16 September 2006, Cardinal Bertone, after only one day in his job as Cardinal Secretary of State, released a declaration explaining that the "position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate" and that "the Pope's option in favour of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal."[10]

As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake—in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text—certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. [The Pope] sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions.[11][12] (emphasis as in original)

Comments by Patriarch Alexius II[]

On 5 December 2006, Patriarch Alexius II accused the Holy See of an "extremely unfriendly policy"[13] when he said that the Catholic Church was poaching converts in Orthodox lands in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics. In response, Cardinal Bertone said, "We do not want to engage in proselytism in Russia".[14]

Le Figaro Interview[]

On 31 March 2007, Cardinal Bertone confirmed Pope Benedict's impending publication of the long-expected motu proprio extending the indult for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro.[15][16][17]

In the same interview, Bertone "blasted the media for highlighting the Vatican's views on sex while maintaining a 'deafening silence' about charity work done by thousands of Catholic organisations around the world."[18] He continued by saying, "I see a fixation by some journalists on moral topics, such as abortion and homosexual unions, which are certainly important issues but absolutely do not constitute the thinking and work of the Church."

Proposed excommunication of drug dealers[]

On 14 January 2009, Cardinal Bertone suggested that the Church would consider taking much stronger action against drug dealers. This action might possibly include excommunication. He made a statement about the Church's alarm at the "disaster" of drug-fuelled violence on the eve of a trip to Mexico. [3]


Political controversies in the Roman Curia[]

Bertone has been criticized by Catholic journalist Sandro Magister for having exposed Benedict XVI to public controversies surrounding episcopal nominations in Italy and Poland. [19] Magister also writes that the problems in communications and governance that were visible during the Williamson affair can largely be attributed to Bertone. [20] He further alleges that Bertone was involved in a doctrinal controversy about abortion and that he supported the procedure in extraordinary circumstances. [21]

Third Secret of Fatima controversy[]

Main article: Third Secret of Fatima controversy

Bertone has been accused of lying about the content of the Third Secret of Fatima in his book, The Last Secret of Fatima[22], and also in televised appearances.[23][24] After Bertone's book was published, Italian journalist Antonio Socci published an article entitled, Dear Cardinal Bertone: Who -- between you and me -- is Deliberately Lying?.[23] Catholic attorney Christopher Ferrara wrote an entire book called The Secret Still Hidden (content available online) aimed at exposing and debunking the claims of Cardinal Bertone with respect to Fatima.[24] The book contains an appendix entitled, 101 Grounds for Doubting Cardinal Bertone's Account. In particular, it is claimed that Bertone engaged in a systematic deception along with Cardinal Sodano and Cardinal Ratzinger to cover-up the existence of a one-page document containing the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which some believe contains information about the Apocalypse and a great apostasy.[25][24] Bertone denied that he told anything less than the full truth about Fatima in a televised appearance.[26]


  1. Zenit. Cardinal Bertone Prefers Activity to Study 15 September 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 Whispers in the Loggia. The Faithful Secretary 18 August 2006
  4. BBC News. Church Fights Da Vinci Code Novel 15 March 2006
  5. Whispers in the Loggia. Bertone: "I Had a Dream" 31 August 2006
  6. [1]
  7. CathNews. Cardinal Bertone Wants to be Secretary of Church Not State 31 August 2006
  8. Telegraph. Vatican Wants to Play Priests in Serie A 20 December 2006
  9. Catholic World News. Strong Defense of Pius XII by Cardinal Bertone 6 June 2007
  10. Libreria Editrice Vaticana'. "Traduzione In Lingua Inglesse" 16 September 2006
  11. Reuters. "Pope apologises to Muslims", 16 September 2006
  12. Associated Press. "Pope 'sincerely regrets' he offended Muslims" 16 September 2006
  13. KYIV Post. [2]
  14. Zenit. Cardinal Bertone: We Don't Proselytize 5 December 2006
  15. Le Figaro. Bertone: "Foi et raison ne s'opposent pas" - in French 2 April 2007
  16. Rortate Cæli. Breaking News: Bertone Confirms Motu Proprio 31 March 2007
  17. Catholic World News. Media Distort Church Statements, Cardinal Bertone Charges 2 April 2007
  18. Moora. Pope's Aide Blasts Church Media Coverage 1 April 2007
  19. Tarcisio Bertone, the Cardinal Who Was Supposed to Help the Pope
  20. Double Disaster at the Vatican: Of Governance, and of Communication
  21. Retractions. The Holy Office Teaches Archbishop Fisichella a Lesson
  22. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (2008). The Last Secret of Fatima. Doubleday Religion. ISBN 978-0385525824. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 Socci, Antonio, Who Between — You and Meis Deliberately Lying?, 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Ferrara, Christopher (2008). The Secret Still Hidden. Good Counsel Publications Inc.. (Content of book available online for free). ISBN 978-0981535708. 
  25. Kramer, Father Paul (2002). The Devil's Final Battle. Good Counsel Publications Inc.. (Content of book available online for free). ISBN 978-0966304657. 
  26. Television special filmed in Italy on 21 September 2007; filmed in an auditorium at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Italy.

External links[]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Albino Mensa
Archbishop of Vercelli
4 June 1991 - 13 June 1995
Succeeded by
Enrico Masseroni
Preceded by
Alberto Bovone
Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
13 June 1995 - 10 December 2002
Succeeded by
Angelo Amato
Preceded by
Dionigi Tettamanzi
Archbishop of Genova
10 December 2002 - 15 September 2006
Succeeded by
Angelo Bagnasco
Preceded by
Pio Laghi
Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Via Tuscolana pro hac vice Title
21 October 2003 - 10 May 2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Angelo Sodano
Cardinal Secretary of State
15 September 2006–present
Preceded by
Angelo Sodano
Interdicasterial Commission on Particular Churches
15 September 2006–present
Preceded by
Angelo Sodano
Interdicasterial Commission for the Church in Eastern Europe
15 September 2006–present
Preceded by
Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
4 April 2007–present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Alfonso López Trujillo
Cardinal Bishop of Frascati
10 May 2008–present
Succeeded by

bg:Тарчизио Бертоне cs:Tarcisio Bertone et:Tarcisio Bertone ko:타르치시오 베르토네 hr:Tarcisio Bertone la:Tarsicius Bertone ja:タルチジオ・ベルトーネ no:Tarcisio Bertone pt:Tarcisio Bertone ro:Tarcisio Bertone ru:Бертоне, Тарчизио fi:Tarcisio Bertone sv:Tarcisio Bertone tr:Tarciso Bertone uk:Бертоне Тарчізіо