The most promising Pope candidates part IV: Tarcisio Bertone

Cardinal Bertone: The Ambitious

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.

Versatile interviewee

As Archbishop of Genoa, he was a popular and willing interviewee, who expressed himself pronounced to a wide range of topics: from the controversy over the “Mohammed-cartoons” to the “Da Vinci Code”, from immigration to bioethics. With his passion for football (soccer), he earned a lot of sympathy in Italy: The Salesian was repeatedly seen in television as knowledgeable co-commentator for Premiership matches.

In addition to representing the Pope in various foreign missions, Bertone took also over an increasingly important role as a Church reference person in Italian politics. Employees describe Bertone as approachable and sociable, but also as decisive. He is known as someone who does not mince matters.

Bertone was criticized especially for his statements, with regard to the coherency of pedophilia and homosexuality. He is also accused of the attempt to cover-up the abuse cases in the Roman Catholic Church. His attempts, to wriggle the Vatican Bank IOR out of the rumor mills regarding money laundering and corruption, failed. Finally he was criticized for his lack of crisis management in the “Vatileaks”-affair. However, Benedict XVI. stood always by him.

The most promising Pope candidates part I: Peter Turkson
The most promising Pope candidates part II: Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga
The most promising Pope candidates part III: Angelo Scola
The most promising Pope candidates part V: Marc Ouellet
The most promising Pope candidates part VI: Timothy Dolan
The most promising Pope candidates part VII:Luis Antonio Tagle
The most promising Pope candidates part VIII: Angelo Bagnasco
The most promising Pope candidates part IX: Gianfranco Ravasi
The most promising Pope candidates part X: Odilo Pedro Scherer

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