Friday, June 23, 2006

"Dear People of Genoa..."

It just gets more interesting every day on the Roman scene.... Then again, what's new about that?

First, yesterday morning Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, of Genoa was named Secretary of State. (The Secretary-designate is shown here at a Genoa press conference yesterday to mark the announcement.)

Until the moment of the appointment, even top officials believed it wasn't going to happen. Many people in San Damaso hoped it wasn't going to happen.

But, well, here we are.

Anyways, to apologize to the people of the archdiocese of Genoa for taking their archbishop back unto himself, Benedict XVI has written a letter to the local church Bertone leaves behind. Dated yesterday, it was released by the Holy See Press Office this morning. And here's the Whispers translation in English.
Dearest faithful of Genoa,
peace and apostolic blessing!

I write you on the occasion when the appointment of your Archbishop as the new Secretary of State has been made public.

In these three years, in which he has led the Church in Genoa, you've learned to respect the gifts and qualities which make him a faithful shepherd, particularly capable of melding pastoral attention and doctrinal preparation.

It is exactly these characteristics, united with a reciprocal knowledge and trust, matured by years of shared service at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which have led me to choose him for the high and delicate charge of the service of the universal Church, at the Holy See.

I know I have asked a great sacrifice of Cardinal Bertone; I know that it's not a lesser one for the faithful entrusted to his care in Genoa. But I'm sure that his affection and his prayer for your community will be brought with him ad Petri sedem [to the see of Peter]. The story of your Diocese is one of a generous fidelity to the Vicar of Christ, to which I also appeal in virtue of the name which I chose for my Petrine ministry: it is the name of the last Genovese Pope [Benedict XV], so devoted to the Madonna della Guardia, to whom I entrust all in this moment of passage which is delicate but rich in grace, because always "all things work together for the good of those who love God" (Rom 8:28).

In light of your fidelity and obedient generosity toward the Holy See I am preparing to provide in short order for the appointment of the new successor to the Chair of St Cyrus [of Genoa].

I ask you to join with me in prayer to the Spirit that I may be aided in this discernment and finally I assure you of my own remembrance and my apostolic blessing in prayer for all the parts of the Church in Genoa: its pastors, consecrated men and women, families, young people, the afflicted.

Vatican City
22 June 2006


PHOTO: AP/Andrea Leoni