Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone officially stepped down as the Vatican Secretary of State today, and in a short ceremony, held in the library of the Secretariat of State, Pope Francis acknowledged his contribution to the running of the Holy See.
Cardinal Bertone is to be succeeded by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who was not present at the ceremony though he had been expected to take office today. The Pope said the archbishop will take up his new post in the next few weeks, once he has recovered from recent surgery.
According to Vatican Radio, the Pope noted that despite his temporary absence, the Italian archbishop has worked for the Secretariat of State for many years with passion and skill, displaying a capacity for dialogue with a human touch.
Cardinal Bertone was appointed Secretary of State by the former pope Benedict XVI in 2006. He proved to be a divisive figure and became embroiled in the ‘Vatileaks’ scandal in 2012.
In September, he defended his record, claiming to be the victim of ” a web of moles and vipers”.
“Of course there were a lot of problems, particularly in the last two years and some accusations were levied against me,” he said.
“There was a web of moles and vipers. But this should not darken what I see as a positive overall result. We missed some things, also because problems were kept locked away by some people who did not contact the Secretariat of State.”