Cardinal Bertone Discusses Pope's Priorities
Cardinal Bertone talked of the 'special relationship" Benedict XVI has with the Second Vatican Council calling him 'a great Pope of Vatican II.'
Cardinal Bertone spoke of his own role in the Vatican and the priorities of Benedict XVI's pontificate in an exclusive interview given Monday with the Catholic French television station KTO, on the occasion of the station's 10th anniversary.
In the interview conducted by Philippine de Saint-Pierre, the cardinal described Benedict XVI as a "man who listens," and said the Pope does all he can to "take the pulse of the Church."
He refuted comments made by Vatican observers that the Pope is too isolated, noting that the Holy Father meets regularly with all the heads of all the Vatican dicastries, and for the bishops' five-yearly "ad limina" meetings, he "gives to them all the time he can."
In describing the Pope's "style," the cardinal said that he is "the first who loves: The first who loves the Church, who loves the faithful of the universal Church. The first who serves the Church, who gives his life to the Church, day and night, through his work, through his prayer."
"He is also the first who builds unity in the Church," he added.
During the long interview, Cardinal Bertone talked of the "special relationship" Benedict XVI has with the Second Vatican Council, calling him "a great Pope of Vatican II": "It suffices to see the number of times he cites texts of the Council in his discourses, addresses, his encyclicals."
"He is one of finest connoisseurs of the Council," the cardinal added.
The Salesian cardinal noted that in the wake of Vatican II, where then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was an expert and enjoyed a certain "celebrity," he "saw certain abuses, certain dangers, and he emphasized above all the interpretation of the Council in terms of continuity, and not in terms of rupture with Tradition."
"This is an essential point," Cardinal Bertone said, who also discussed the Pope's decision to lift the excommunication of four bishops of the St. Pius X Society earlier this year.
The cardinal noted that Benedict XVI is very much aware of what is at stake with the situation of the St. Pius X Society: "One must remember that in 1998, he maintained the relationship and conducted the dialogue with Archbishop Lefebvre and his team, at the request of John Paul II."
Cardinal Bertone explained one reason why Benedict XVI is reaching out to the traditionally minded society is because "Tradition is part of the Church, it's a patrimony that we should know and value, and not simply leave to one side or in the library."
Another reason, he continued, has to do with one of the Pope's "fundamental concerns," which is unity.
In the interview, Cardinal Bertone addressed other important challenges facing the pontificate of Benedict XVI, such as ecumenical dialogue, in particular with the Orthodox Churches, as well as relations with Jews and with Islam.
Benedict XVI is a "figure very much esteemed as a great theologian" in these conversations, noted Cardinal Bertone.
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