Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The "Four Points": Truth, Hope, Healing, Reconciliation

While the Pope decided to address the American people with a video-message (the video part of which hasn't yet appeared in full), B16 sent his de facto chief spokesman, "Vice-Pope" (and Stateside forerunner) -- the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone -- to handle his interview requests.

Taking to the task with his usual relish, earlier today Bertone conducted a half-hour sit-down with AP:
Bertone... said Benedict will deliver a message of "trust and hope" when he meets American clergy at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

Benedict "will try to open the path of healing and reconciliation," said Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state.

The abuse crisis has caused "so much suffering for the victims, for the families of the victims and above all to the church because it was a contradiction with the great educational mission of the church," Bertone lamented during the 30-minute interview in the frescoed Treaty Hall of the Apostolic Palace....

Bertone said Benedict, who will turn 81 during next week's visit to the U.S., is fit but could not meet all the invitations from U.S. cities and had to limit himself to Washington and New York.

"The pope is well, everyone sees it, all those who are near to him see his freshness," Bertone said.

Turning to security during the visit, the cardinal said he is aware of anti-papal rhetoric from Islamic extremists. But he noted that Benedict visited the predominantly Muslim nation of Turkey in 2006, just two months after he touched off a fury in the Islamic world by linking that faith to violence in a speech in his native Germany.

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden recently accused the pope of helping in a "new Crusade," but Bertone said "I must say the Holy Father is very tranquil and serene. ... We have faith in the means of protection the government will implement."

"He entrusts himself to God and also to his guardian angels who won't be lacking on this trip to the United States," Bertone said with a smile....

The cardinal reiterated the Vatican's long-held position against the U.S. embargo against Cuba and some European Union sanctions in his interview with the AP.

Bertone, who will be meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, said the embargo "does not help the positive development of Cuban society, rather it impedes it."...

Bertone said "the dignity of the human being" will be at the center of Benedict's U.N. address, linking the visit to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Asked what impact the speech might have on U.S. policy, the Italian cardinal noted that "the United States shares the ideals of the United Nations."

The theme of the trip, "Christ our Hope" is a reflection that Benedict is "not a pessimistic pope," Bertone said.

He noted the importance of religion in American life and the Catholic Church in America. While the pope is aware that Catholics in the United States and elsewhere in the world stray from church teaching, the cardinal said, Benedict wants his pilgrimage to give his flock "reason for faith and for hope."
PHOTO: AP/Javier Galeano(1), Andrew Medichini(2)