In a letter published in the Vatican Osservatore Romano daily, Benedict recalled his long working relationship with the cardinal, especially the eight years they were together at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the Church's dogmatic watchdog - which the current pope headed for 24 years.
In his letter, the pope praised, among other things, Bertone's efforts to re-establish dialogue with the ultratraditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and reunite the breakaway group, founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, with the Catholic Church.
The lifting of the SSPX's excommunication in 2008 sparked controversy, especially with Jews, because of the Holocaust-denying positon of one of the group's leading members, Bishop Richard Williamson.
Cardinal Bertone, who turned 75 in December, was archbishop of Genoa when Benedict appointed him to be secretary of state on the retirement in 2006 of Cardinal Angelo Sodano for reasons of age.
At the time, the appointment was considered the most important move in Benedict's reshaping of the Vatican administration after his election in 2005.
The pope said he chose Bertone, a conservative, because of his ability to combine pastoral skills with extensive knowledge of doctrine.
The secretary of state, who is second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy, is in charge of all the political and diplomatic activities of the Holy See and so wields enormous power.
The fifth of eight children, Bertone's parents were peasant farmers in a wine growing region near Turin. As a child he spent many hours tending vines, and his family still produces a dessert wine called Bertone.
He was ordained at 26 and from then his career quickly progressed as a professor in Catholic universities and as an expert collaborator with various Vatican departments.
Posted January 21, 2010
CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE
The Cardinal Secretary of State—officially the Secretary of State of His Holiness The Pope—presides over the Holy See's Office of the Papal Secretariat of State, which is the oldest and most important dicastery of the Roman Curia. The Cardinal Secretary is regarded as being in charge of the political and diplomatic activities of the Holy See and is thus referred to as being the Holy See's "Prime Minister". The current Cardinal Secretary of State is Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone of Italy, who has served since 15 September 2006.
For additional information see "Cardinal Secretary of State" on the Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_Secretary_of_State
For the Vatican "Secretariate of State" webpage, see http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/index.htm
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., Secretary of State, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop emeritus of Genoa (Italy), was born on 2 December 1934 in Romano Canavese, Italy. He was ordained on 1 July 1960. He holds a licence in theology with a dissertation on tolerance and religious freedom and a doctorate in canon law.
He has been professor of special moral theology at the Pontifical Salesian University, 1967; professor of canon law, 1976-91; and dean of the Faculty of Canon Law, 1979-85; vice-rector, 1987-89 and then rector, 1989-91. He collaborated in several Roman parishes and has also worked on the final phase of the revision of the Code of Canon Law, directing the working group that translated the Code into Italian for the Italian Episcopal Conference. Since the 1980s, he has served as consultor in several dicasteries of the Roman Curia, especially in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
On 1 August 1991 he was ordained Archbishop of Vercelli.
On 13 June 1995 he was nominated Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, charged by Pope John Paul II with the care of the publication of the third part of the “secret” of Fatima.
On 10 December 2002 he was nominated Archbishop of Genoa.
On 15 September 2006 he was nominated Secretary of State.
On 4 April 2007 he was nominated Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 October 2003, of the Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Frascati.
A Member of the Congregations: for the Doctrine of the Faith; for the Clergy; for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments; for the Oriental Churches; for Bishops; for the Evangelization of Peoples; and the Cardinal Commission for the Supervision of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) - President.
From the Vatican Website College of Cardinals Biographical Notes Dated 12/5/08: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/documentazione/documents/
LINK TO ARTICLE: "THE POPE'S TEAM: THE VATICAN SECRETARIAT OF STATE" (February 2000)
BY FATHER J. MICHAEL MILLER.O.S.B.