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Cardinal Bertone's Meeting With the Press

8/19/2007 - 6:55 AM PST

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"The Church in the United States Is Really Alive"


NASHVILLE, Tennessee, AUG. 19, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is the transcript of Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's Aug. 8 press conference during his visit to the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus.

The transcript is provided by the Knights of Columbus.

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News Conference Remarks by His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

News Conference at the 125th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Nashville, Tennessee

Q: What are your impressions of the American Church in light of this visit?

Cardinal Bertone: First of all, I would like to say that this visit has shown me that the Church in the United States is really alive; I would like to express two particular impressions:

-- I met good bishops and good cardinals (of course, I am defending my own category!).

-- I have to speak about the vitality and the lively spirit of the people here, especially the Knights of Columbus, present not only in the United States but in other countries as well. I recognize in them a strong identification with the Catholic Church.

Speaking about the religious life, I have just visited the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I met some sisters who have recently celebrated their seventy-fifth jubilees and I met many more incredibly young sisters who are also very beautiful and very intelligent. Two weeks ago, eleven of them professed their First Vows and, at the same time, another eleven made their Solemn Profession. They present a truly beautiful face of the Church and of the Church in the United States.

Q: Regarding conversations with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a possible visit of Pope Benedict to the United States.

Cardinal Bertone: The telephone conversation should really remain private -- notwithstanding the fact that some of those conversations may be able to be tapped. The conversations dealt primarily with the state of Christians in the Middle East. I recognize the untiring efforts of the American Secretary of State in her work. I told her that her travels by plane, in her efforts for peace, are accompanied by the angels. If they weren't accompanied by the angels, then she would never be able to knit back together all of these relationships that have been so fragile and difficult. I think that we will be able to continue these discussions during a future visit of the Secretary of State of the United States to Rome.

As you know, the visit of the Holy Father [to the United States] is a work in progress. Perhaps the Apostolic Nuncio, present here, will be convening meetings of the interested parties, as the planning stages go further for this particular visit, probably next year.

Q: The situation in Iraq -- what would a moral withdrawal look like?

Cardinal Bertone: I refer back to the words of the Holy Father who said we're in a very critical moment of this discussion. I don't want to say we're in a blind alley; nevertheless, it is a very complicated situation and that's the position where we are at right now. Perhaps we can begin thinking about some round tables or discussions where people are brought together to discuss this at a regional and at an international level.
I encourage all to search for a satisfactory solution in the Middle East.

Q: The Church in China -- What does the Vatican have to say about the invitation that was given and then taken back?

Cardinal Bertone: The situation of the Church in China was presented in a very accurate way in a letter that the Holy Father wrote to the Catholic Chinese people.

The areas that the Pope dealt with in that letter and the manner in which he dealt with them are the best possible way that we can address the situation in China, probably much more than many of the articles we have read in the newspapers. The letter was well received and widely discussed, not only at the religious level, but on many different levels in China. With regard to the question of an "invitation," I should say that this was not done formally by the Chinese authorities. The invitation was made by an individual, in his personal capacity, and not in the name of the Chinese government.

The question of a visit has been suspended for the time being, and we are waiting for some kind of move on the part of the Chinese government. At this time we are at a moment of reflection.

The letter of the Pope to the Chinese Catholics is an historical moment. The letter constitutes a watershed between the past and the future in the relationship between China and the Catholic Church.

Q: You have spoken very well and warmly about Father McGivney…

Cardinal Bertone: The very brief life of Father McGivney is a prophetic adumbration; he anticipated by many years ...

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