Is this Cardinal really 'in trouble with the Bishop of Rome', or just with his friends?

Location, location, location: Cardinal Bertone

One of the most refreshing aspects of this pontificate has been seeing Cardinal Sodano out in St Peter's Square washing the feet of the poor and adopting accommodation and a schedule more in keeping with the vision of Pope Francis. A poor Church for the poor. If ever that slogan could be applied to anyone, Vaticanistas say that of Cardinal Angelo Sodano. It is said that since the election of Pope Francis, Cardinal Sodano has decided to live incredibly simply, modestly indeed, and often refuses the visits of the influential and powerful of Rome. It is in the light of heroic and exceedingly humble, simple men like Cardinal Sodano, who refuses honours, ostentatious accommodation and 'worldliness', that we are able better to see more clearly the vices of other, more corrupt Cardinals, like Cardinal Sodano's brother in Christ Cardinal Tarscico Bertone. Such men as Bertone, you know, are much more 'worldly'. Oh how these two men get on. Verily, it is said that it is indeed like watching a house on fire.

According to The Telegraph...

La Repubblica said the cardinal's new apartment includes a large rooftop terrace and would be about 10 times bigger than Pope Francis' home once extensive renovations have been completed this summer.

There is no comment from Pope Francis on the subject, just as there was no formal comment from Pope Francis on the 'Bishop of Bling', yet such a situation surely deserves some really serious and positively generous mercy and severely pastoral love! Right? Because that is the way of new way of 'being Church' as espoused by Cardinals Maradiaga, Kasper and Co. Or should that be Inc?

Why, though, should the case of Bertone be compared to that of the Holy Father. The Holy Father has, for himself, and for his 'personal needs', decided to live away from the Apostolic Palace, in his own words, not to live modestly or as a public relations exercise in 'apostolic poverty', but to live in close proximity to others because he finds it 'psychologically hard' to live alone. Well, I have plenty of sympathy with that, even if this Cross is laid upon the shoulder of every Pope, and every other Pope for a long time has accepted that particular Cross.

Quite why it follows however that other Cardinals and Bishops in Rome should automatically follow suit because of the personal choices of the Pope - which he only advocated for himself due to his 'psychological needs' - is a mystery. I hope that His Holiness will not to listen to 'gossip' spread by warring Bishops who spread calumny and detraction about others to journalists. For this is the same Supreme Pontiff who, when asked by the media about controversial prelates in the Vatican who have at times adopted something of an 'alternative' lifestyle, quite at odds with what one would expect of any priest, responded with the question, '...then who am I to judge?'

Yet judgement has at times been swiftly declared upon some. This article suggests, not pleasantly, that Cardinal Bertone was among those who were thought by Pope Francis to be 'either incompetent or corrupt' in their oversight of the IOR. Thankfully, His Holiness can now rely firmly on the pure lily white virtue of saintly efficiency known to be among Mgr Ricca's most admired 'assets'.

That it is said that Cardinal Bertone was a very loyal and devoted servant to Benedict XVI, who following retirement denounced various unnamed 'crows' and 'vipers' around him who made his job as Secretary of State very difficult is, we must assume, a complete co-incidence. That these two camps involving Bertone and Sodano are mentioned in web chatter concerning Vatileaks is another co-incidence. That he was replaced by Pope Francis with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, described by Vatican net curtain twitchers as a 'creature' of the Sodano camp is also, we must assume, another complete co-incidence.

People will have different reactions to this news. Some will think Bertone deserves 'the chop' - whatever that constitutes in the scenario - because, though he has seemingly not defended himself against accusations of over-sized apartment related sins, which, by the way, is not a listed sin, unlike say, sodomy. Others will say that if 'action' is taken that the Pope has 'lost it' and turned into a school-teacher who listens when his children go around 'telling tales' on others and goes from 'old softie' to harsh disciplinarian according to his preferences for favourites among the class. A small minority of people will, if Bertone is sent into exile, be able to see that the Sodano camp is now fully in charge of the government of the Holy See. That need not be terrifying news, so long as you really do believe in the Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord.

Watch out now and walk carefully around Rome, for it looks rather like the Church of Rome is to soon develop some 'structural problems'. There is almost certainly a danger of 'falling masonry' in the vicinity of Rome. Whatever happens in this latest showdown between the 'humble, simple and modest' Bishops and Cardinals and the Bishops and Cardinals of 'excessively plush residences' we can be certain that Pope Francis will come out of it looking pretty good, as His Holiness always does and, as long as that happens, what's not to like?

For further reading, why not browse over Fr Dwight Longnecker's thoughtful post on why its not necessarily at all wrong for a Prince of the Church to live up to his name. Who knows, perhaps Cardinal Bertone needed more space for extra accommodation for others, for some charitable endeavour, or something innocuous like that? Maybe he just needed extra space for some nuns or priest visitors to live with him or something. Let us pray that Cardinal Bertone is given a fair hearing  before his name is dragged like mud through the international press...Oh no, wait. That's already happened! "This Bertone guy's obviously a real scumbag! Can't you tell, just by those glasses? I reckon he's in the mafia! You can just tell!"

'I thank you, O Lord, that I do not live like Cardinal _______________ (insert name here)'
Whatever happens, obviously the Pope's the Pope and can do whatever he pleases and execute justice as an Emperor one day and slip into his role as humble Bishop of Rome the next if he so chooses. I mean there was no actual 'trial' of Bertone concerning his oversight or his involvement at the IOR that led to his name being associated in the press with corruption, scandal and intrigue in January. There was no actual 'trial' of the 'Bishop of Bling' or formal investigation that reached a conclusion, but hey, let's not get bogged down in law or objective concepts about natural justice when a simple accusation from big-spending brother German Bishops and Cardinals who own stakes in a pornography literature company and who never liked you much will suffice.

You may well be wondering, if you are a Bishop, or even a Priest, just when does your flat get 'too big'? We could run a survey of English Bishops and find out. The answer could well be, 'When His Holiness's friends say so'. Is it a mortal sin to receive Communion in a second marriage and thereby commit sacrilege imperiling your very soul without repentance and amendment of your life and/or situation? 'Well now, let's not rush into any kind of rash judgment!'

Of course, had His Holiness Pope Francis done what 'a lot' of his predecessors had done and accepted the chalice of living in the Apostolic Palace, in keeping with Tradition, I suppose few in Rome would feel qualified to exercise a 'ministry of mercy' with 'princely' Cardinals and Bishops who just happen to have been well known as Benedict XVI's supporters, admirers and even friends. Thankfully, however, the enemies of Cardinal Sodano in Rome, the 'bad guys', can now be dealt with much more effectively and without any possible accusation of hypocrisy, unless, that is, you're one of those annoying Catholics who takes the Lord Jesus's words 'seriously'. I know I do, but Lord, fail You in so many ways!

It is so sad to see Cardinals and Bishops tearing each other to pieces. Jesus is Risen indeed! Just as He said, but where is the love Cardinals and Bishops should be showing to one another as Jesus taught? Sad it is, because I suppose that, even though Pope Francis said that he lives where he lives for 'psychological reasons', that even his venerable predecessors in Heaven, like BJPII and BJXIII might be thinking, 'I cannot shake this feeling this guy is making us look bad.'

Let us pray that he who wilfully ignores the Church's law will not fail to revere the Law of the Lord.


LWC said…
Pope Francis is combating an ossified, tone-deaf hierarchy within the Church. When material decadence and empty rubrics have supplanted true evangelism, our Church lies upon a precipice of collapse--again.
viterbo said…
I don't recall square-footage being a listed sin either. I do recall the extravagance of the woman with the alabastar jar and others being poopooed by the judases, however. In fact, right from the get go, the Church of Christ has had wealthy patrons, generous people of privilege sharing their grand residences and supporting the Church's mission. Kings and Queens throughout the ages have seen themselves as courtiers of the Steward of the King of Kings, until henry 8 (way too much). They understood the Soveriengty of God (of course there were plenty of self-serving nasties in there but this is the world, there will be while this world lasts).
viterbo said…
p.s. LWC - is that a pagan idol i see on your id photo? The way I see it, the vii popes and cohorts ARE the 'ossified, tone-deaf 'heirachy' who are willing and working the Church to collapse.