Tarcisio Bertone (78) comes into the spotlight this week, as head of the “Camera Apostolica” (Apostolic Chamber). As in 2005, he is still considered “papabile”.
Bertone was Benedict XVI.’s “Head of Government” and is certainly not exempt from criticism within the Vatican. As Secretary of State, the Cardinal was kind of a right-hand of the Pope. Bertone is regarded as down-to-earth and open-minded. Since 2007 he is the Camerlengo (Cardinal Chamberlain).
Tarcisio Bertone, born on December 2, 1934, grew up with seven brothers and joined the order of the Salesians of Don Bosco at the age of 16. After his ordination in 1960, he earned his doctorate in Canon law and taught for several years at the Pontifical Salesian University as well as at the Lateran University.
He was one of the revisers of the new code of Canon law, published in 1983. In 1991 John Paul II. appointed him Archbishop of the small Piedmontese Archdiocese of Vercelli, but just four years later he moved to the Congregation of the Faith in Rome. There he was the secretary of prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was appointed Archbishop of Genua in December 2002, and is a Cardinal since 2003.
Traditionally, British bookmakers offer bets on who will be the new Pope. While the largest British boomaker William Hill sees Cardinal Secretary of State Tarciso Bertone (Italy) in a lead with a quote of 9/4, Irish bookie Paddypower has Curial Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana) ahead with 2/1. However, quotes change daily if not hourly!
UPDATE: William Hill is no longer offering bets on the new Pope!
With the General Congregations on the way, there is about 10 Cardinals that can be called most “papabile”. Candidates from Africa have good chances, but also churchmen from the Americas can hope. Or will it be yet again an Italian?
These are some of the favored candidades by British bookmakers:
Archbishop Angelo Scola, 71, Italy
Milan’s Archbishop Angelo Scola got entrusted with the management of the populous archdiocese by Benedict XVI. in 2011. He was a close friend of John Paul II, and after his death a contender for the Pope’s successor. The 71-year-old commented vaguely on Benedict’s resignation: “It will be, as he himself has said, for the good of the Church.” “It’s a decision that fills our soul with pain and regret.”, said the Archbishop.
As the Roman “Fatto Quotidiano” reported, Angelo Scola was one of Joseph Ratzinger’s students in Freiburg (Germany) and later in Milan taught no less than Silvio Berlusconi, as well as his political companion now convicted of mafia links Marcello dell’ Utri. His friendship with the founder of the world wide active, in Italy very influential Catholic movement “Communione e Liberazione” (“Community and Liberation”), Don Giussani, has caused concerne within the Church. “Communion and Liberation” is close to Berlusconi’s PdL party and is suspected of bribe payments in connection with the Vatileaks affair. Last year, Scola distanced himself from the movement.
During the “Sede Vacante”, the College of Cardinals leads the Church. But its powers are limited to tasks and decisions which can not be postponed.
Decrees, issued by the Popes, must not be corrected or changed during this time.The interim administration of the Church is run by the Camerlengo and his three Cardinal assistants. The College of Cardinals prepares in particular the election of the new Pope.
With the beginning of the “Sede Vacante”, the Catholic Church and the Vatican State are temporarily run by the College of Cardinals. The Dean of the College, ex-Cardinal Angelo Sodano (85), invited the 208 cardinals to General congregations in the Apostolic Palace, held daily until the start of the conclave.
115 Cardinals at the Conclave
Since many cardinals already gathered in the Vatican, the meeting will start on Monday. Key task is to determine the start date for the conclave, that could possibly begin on the weekend a few days later. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said: “As of today, 115 cardinals will be coming to the Vatican to elect a new Pope. Benedict XVI. paved the way for a quick appointment of a date just a few days ago.
The pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. has come to an end. The period of the Sede Vacante (“empty chair”) has officially begun on Thursday 8:00 p.m., and ends with the election of a new Pope.
At exactly 8:00 pm, the door of the Papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, 30 kilometres south of Rome, whereto Benedict had retired on Friday, was closed. Benedict XVI. is now an Emeritus Pope. The Swiss Guard withdrew from Castel Gandolfo. Their mission is to protect the reigning Pope.
At the same time the Cardinal Chamberlain (Camerlengo) of the Roman Church, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone (78), sealed Benedict XVI’s apartment, on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, and the elevator that leads there. It is the same ceremony as after the death of a Pope. The rooms remain closed until the election of a successor. Also Benedict’s fisherman’s ring has no function anymore.
“I am only a pilgrim”
Benedict is the first Pope of modern times who resigned from his post.It has yet not been determined When his successor will be chosen. In many countries, there where held commemoration services, for the farewell of the Pope.
As the last public act of his pontificate, Benedict appeared at 5:38 pm on the Loggia of the Palace in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome and greeted the faithful gathered there. He spread the arms and was celebrated with loud cheers, “Benedetto” calls and colorful banners. “I am no Pope any longer, I am simply a pilgrim”, he said, blessing the faithful. And then: “Good night.”
At 8:00 pm, the portal of the residence was closed as a symbolic sign of the end of the pontificate. Once again there were “Viva il Papa” calls and all bells were rung in Castel Gandolfo.
The Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said on Tuesday, that Benedict will be called “His Holiness Benedict XVI., Emeritus Pope”. The pope’s title and what he would wear have been a major source of speculation ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thursday, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.
After his resignation on Thursday, Benedict XVI. is to be called “Emeritus Pope” (Papa emerito) or “Roman Pontiff Emeritus” (Romano Pontefice emerito). But one may also address Joseph Ratzinger with the title “Your Holiness”, Lombardi added.
As on how the outgoing Pope should be addressed in the future, had been discussed over and over again. “Emeritus Bishop of Rome” was a hot favourite. Lombardi also said, the 85 Ratzinger will wear a “simple white cassock” after February 28. While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico, and given to him during his 2012 visit.
However it remains open, even after the question of the title is apparently resolved, what role the “Emeritus Pope” will play regarding his successor and the Vatican.
With the end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, the time of the Sede Vacante starts next Thursday, February 28, at 8:00 pm. This is how the period is called, in which the office of the Pope is not occupied.
Typically, this period extends from the death of the head of church until his successor is elected. The term comes from Latin and literally means “empty chair”. During the papal transition, the College of Cardinals, eventually all 209 currently living Cardinals, are in charge of the church. Their powers are limited to tasks and decisions that can not be postponed. Laws issued by the Pope cannot be corrected or modified during this period.
Administrated by Cardinal Chamberlain
The interim government of the Church is taken over by the Cardinal Chamberlain (Camerlengo). The current Camerlengo is Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Together with three Cardinal assistants, that are chosen by lot and replaced every three days, he forms a so-called special congregation, wich decides, among other things, when the entire College of Cardinals shall meet for the first General Congregation, to prepare the Pope election.
The General Congregation meets daily at the Apostolic Palace, and is headed by the Dean of Cardinals Angelo Sodano. The College of Cardinals prepares in particular the election of the new Pope. The Pope election traditionally takes place in the Sistine Chapel under strictest security and confidentiality measures. However, during their stay in Rome, the Cardinals live – also during the time of the conclave – reasonably comfortable in the Vatican Guest House Santa Marta.
All Cardinals participating in the General Congregation, must swear an oath on the Gospel, to respect the rules and to absolute secrecy. The same applies to participants who are older than 80 years and may therefore not participate in the election of the new Pope. The cardinals swear, among other things, that they “will keep everything secret, which relates in any way to the election of the Pope.
The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (“Chamberlain”) is the administrator of the property and the revenues of the Holy See, and is always a Cardinal.
Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, S.D.B. (born 2 December 1934) currently serves as Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo.
Until a successor Pope can be elected, the Camerlengo serves as acting head of State of the Vatican City. He is not, however, currently responsible for the government of the Catholic Church during a sede vacante. Universi Dominici Gregis placed that task in the hands of the College of Cardinals.
The Camerlengo, though, does keep his office during the sede vacante, as opposed to the rest of the Roman Curia, and functions as the executive director of Vatican operations answerable to the College of Cardinals during an interregnum, primarily to carry out the College’s decisions with regard to arranging the funeral of the late pope and the events leading up to the conclave. The only other person who keeps his office is the Major Penitentiary.
Up until recent times, upon the death of a Pope, it was the duty of the Cardinal Chamberlain to perform a ceremony officially identifying the body of the deceased. Accompanied by the officials of the Apostolic Camera, the Camerlengo approaches the death-bed of the pope. The face of the pope, which had been covered with a white cloth, is revealed. The Camerlengo and all those present kneel in meditation. They rise and the Camerlengo performs the ritual of absolution. The Dean of the College of Notaries reads a document called the ‘Rogito’, the papal equivalent of a death certificate and record of the proccedings of that day. The Fisherman’s Ring is handed over to the Camerlengo by the Papal Maestro di Camera, who is its usual custodian. The ring is shown to the Cardinals present at the First Consistory after the death of the pope, and is defaced in their presence, along with the official papal seal.