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A picture is worth a thousand words

A fascinating article on Cardinal Bertone. Thank God for Pope Francis. I don't think he was admiring Bertone's smokin' shades.




About the Author

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.



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This picture should be in everyone's file under the title "unmitigated arrogance."

Rowland says his sunglasses are aviators, but I don't think they are.

The man looks fabulous, but I prefer Donohue's lunettes, though maybe with a lighter lens.


That security guard doesn't look too impressed with Bertone either.

That is a great article.  

Instead of lifter shoes he had an entire riser to be part of the "all men are equal but some men are more equal than the others" animal farm.

It was widely reported (and officially denied by that bastion of credibility - aka the Vatican) that Bertone was under criminal investigation for miassappropriation of funds.

Someone with some photoshop skills needs to put him on the Iron Throne, with Anita Ekberg peeking out from behind it.

I keep imagining Francis as the hero of 1940s movies.  In this one, Cardinal Bertone, with Bishop Bergoglio on his right,  is seated on a throne on the steps of St. Peter's  looking down the grand boulevard  that leads from  St, Peter's Square into the city of Rome.  Down the middle of that august street, now only a block or two distant from them, Cardinal Raymond Burke, with his great red cardinal's hat smashed down on his head, and his  matching red cappa magna dragging heavily behind him,  advances steely-eyed toward Bertone with his golden bishop's mitre in one hand and his drawn Renaissance sword in the other.  Bergoglio looks up at Bertone and says, "Are you crazy?  I will NOT be your second!"  

What I do not understand is why Benedict allowed Bertone to prance about and contribute mightily to the failure of his papacy. Same for Sodano, whose corruption Jason Berry exposed for all to see.

Francis in turn allows Bertone to remodel a lavish apartment for himself, and gave him recognition above all reason. When such conduct is left intact, it contaminates the whole system.

Accountability is nowhere to be found among the high princes, that I can see. Comic on one level, but not funny at all; more like disgusting, eliciting a visceral dislike for mitres and fancy vestments.



Trying to figure out the Anita Ekberg allusion; Google didn't help me with it.

Carolyn, There hasn't been "fraternal correction" in the Church since Paul "withstood (Peter) to his face." If we could somehow revive the practice most of our other problems would become manageable.

Now we know why that when Bergoglio finally got in a position to do something about it, he got rid of this pompous a _ _.

You have to believe that Papa Francesco was thinking about Bertone when he lamented ambitious, career hierarchs as the "leprosy of the church."

Carolyn - I agree that Bertone's luxurious digs are badly out of step with the spirit of Francis.  Inasmuch as a pope has supreme power, let's assume that he has authority to order  Bertone to sell the condo, don a hair shirt and move into a hermit's cell (although in point of fact, I'm not certain that he does).  Does it therefore follow, though, that Francis should issue those orders?  If Bertone still wields considerable influence among a segment of the Vatican, perhaps it is more prudent for Francis to pick his battles.  

In Atlanta, Archbishop Gregory was induced (shamed?) by public outcry, which invoked the spirit of Francis, into selling his retirement McMansion.  That wasn't an act of executive fiat on Francis' part, but perhaps we can give him some indirect credit for bringing about that change of heart in Gregory.  Now that sunlight is being shone on Bertone's living arrangement, perhaps he can be similarly induced.  If not, then perhaps we conclude that, in addition to Bertone's other reported character flaws, he is shameless.  

Sure, a 7,000 sq ft apartment seems excessive at first. But if you subtract a bare minimum 75' x 75' walk-in vestment closet and robing room, the actual living space is modest, even a bit cramped.

Anyway, this is a sign of how much better things are in the Church than they were at the beginning. I seem to remember that the man who started it all said that he had nowhere to lay his head.


Irene, it's an anachronistic and fevered fantasy on Abe's part (refer's to "Game of Thrones" and Ekberg the 1960s sex bomb).

Abe, my son is on the visual with his little PhotoShop machine. Winter is coming.

" Watch me, Your Holiness, THIS is how to do it."

This is why we have to change our way of giving to the church. Just enough to maintain the structure. Enough to pay the pastor unless it is shown that he is not putting in at least a forty hour week. Remember Augustine and Jeriome changed the way of giving.So give to the poor first and the clergy second.

I hope this isn’t too off topic, but if it’s really true that Viganò was transferred from Rome because he was too interested in finding out where the bodies were buried, why was he transferred to the US, of all places, and not to Moldova or the Mongolian Republic? Maybe I missed the original story.

Anyway, I had a polite and grateful letter from Archbishop V. when I wrote him a couple of months ago suggesting what qualities I thought the future bishop of Burlington, VT  should have.

Nicholas --

Maybe Cardinal Vigano was transferred here because Rome knew that our very conservative bishops would keep an eye on him?

Jim P:  to allude that the public pressure on Gregory from his visible and vocal constituents would work on Bertone is naive.

Who are his constitutents?  To whom does he answer?  Who is funding his extravagance?  Who owns the property?  Who has any say on what, if anything, is done to the property, and by whom?

To think that Bertone or very many of the Vaticanes (yes, I meant that term) are subject to shame from outside sources assumes that they understand the concept of shame to begin with.  If they did, or didn't believe themselves to be above and beyond reproach, then they would behave like this in the first place.

Look again at the picture and show me where a sense of shame might possibly be visible.

And folks wonder why the exit from this church in the Western world happens at an increasing rate.  Seriously.

Chaos is a ladder. Power is power.

Jim P,  Jim, Jim,

No, no, no, demotions Vatican style are hardly ever as straightforward as giving an order, and God forbid it be in writing. How could I forget?? I would expect a significant aide of Francis might suggest or comment nonnchalantly (indirect language, please and always) that there is another apartment available that might be more suitable for Bertone. Or he could arrive at the apartment and find some things perhaps misplaced; or belongings of another moved in.

It's a surreal world of indirection, but unmistakable signposts to send a message. Tom Doyle was never "fired" from the Vatican embassy. He just found himself uninformed about meetings, belongings moved, then low and behold a good-bye luncheon proposed for him. All out of the blue.

You may be right. I agree Francis is certainly clever enough to maneuver strategically for his own purposes. Maybe Bertone will discover invitations to events start to dry up; the word passes that people may prefer to pass on Bertone's dinners. Or indeed, after a while, Bertone might conclude that the apartment was a misguided choice after all. Continue to reveal him as a laughing-stock as this thread does, and who knows? 

As for shameless, bien sur. BTW, Francis' expression in the photo is as revealing as Berton's posture. Humor helps.


As muh as I would like Cdl. Bergolio to be looking askance at Cdl. Bertone, I actually think he is looking to the back of him and past him, not really looking directly at him.  There are two other people looking in the same direction and neither of them is looking directly at him, (look at their eyes)  The one sitting right behind Bertone is looking to his left. I suspect there was some knid of distraction behind Bertone on his left side.

Thank you,  Alan.

A very astute observer of "matters Vatican" said the same thing to me two days ago. And he is no partisan of the former Secretary of State.

Cardinal Bertone was Pope Benedict's legate in Argentina for a local beatification. (Before Benedict XVI, all beatifications took place in Rome. In a significant recognition of the local Church, Benedict transferred these ceremonies to the country in which the newly-beatified lived.)

The presider's chair for Bertone was no doubt arranged by the local diocese, and Cardinal Bergoglio as the principal host (the only cardinal in Argentina) was no doubt anxious to see that all went well. I am guessing that at the point when the photo was taken something went awry, and Cardinal Bergoglio is looking towards someone not in the photo(a master of ceremonies?) to set things right.

The article is disturbing. The photo, not so much as is being made of it. (How much younger the Pope looked seven years ago.)

This pontificate is truly inspiring and hope-filled, but a small worry that I have expressed before. Is there a danger that the Pope is dwarfing the Church? Maybe this is needed. For a time.

Nor am I a partisan of Tarcisio Bertone.

(It is good to see that the quotation from the traditional Latin formula for the annoucement of a papal election has been corrected. What was given in the orginal version of this thread three days ago was what the Italians call a "frittata," a mess.)


"announcement"  O for a five-minute edit function as on other sites! Well the only other one I look at.

Speaking of "messes"  --- "original"  It's late.

"May the Lord grant us a quiet night and a peaceful rest."

I have seen that in discussions among Catholics, often when we get stuck in a ditch one person or another will quote pope Francis, and that will redirect the discussion. We listen with a positive attitude because we like him. He provides a compass, reorients our thinking in the right direction.

I have experienced that sometimes I am confused on some aspect of Christian life, wondering how x can be reconciled with y, and then, I think about pope Francis, and everything becomes clear, usually not because of what he says, but because of how he is. He shows us how to be a Christian. He explains the gospel, not so much with words but with his being. He is a living witness. He changes the church by converting us by his example.

I think that pope Francis is having an impact in ways I would never have imagined.

Jason Berry on Bertone today:

In the latest installment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s bad luck blues, the former Vatican secretary of state, 79, has responded to critical news coverage by defending the renovation of his 6,500-square-foot apartment and denying anything was amiss in a $20 million Vatican Bank loan he helped steer to Lux Vide, an Italian TV production company.

The German daily Bild Zeitung cited unofficial sources in reporting last month that a Vatican investigation of Bertone was underway for that transaction.

“I don’t understand these attacks,” Bertone told ANSA, the Italian news agency. “I am in harmony with the pope…He likes me.

In his airplane news conference returning from Israel to Rome, Francis responded to a question about Bertone’s role in the loan. “It’s something being studied,” the pope said, according to Catholic News Service. “It’s not clear. Maybe it’s the truth but at this moment it’s not definitive.”

Stay tuned. 

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