Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bertone's Rules of Order

As previously noted, last week saw the delivery of a major programmatic address on human rights, diplomacy and church-state relations by Benedict XVI's top lieutenant on his official visit to Spain.

Despite its backdrop -- namely, a tense domestic situation that's seen the Spanish hierarchy clash with the governing Socialists over the latter's progressive agenda, most prominently in the realm of marriage and family life -- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone explicitly noted that his reflection on the 60th anniversary of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not intended solely for a Spanish audience.

Even so, no one should be surprised that the Holy See issued no translations to aid its spread along. But as it is an extension of -- and a practical complement to -- the Pope's own address to the UN General Assembly last April at the body's New York headquarters, and given the similarities of things Spanish and American in the church-state sphere today, some might find the text's pointers rather useful in English as a glean on the Vatican's authoritative mind. And now, gratefully, it can be found in full in the viewer below.

Before delving in, though, as translating a 5,500-word text full of geopolitical and doctrinal thickets is no mean task, we all owe just as hefty a debt of gratitude to the true genius whose work made it possible: Christine Neulieb, a veteran of the Mothership now wrapping up a Ph.D in ancient Greek philosophy at the Catholic University of America... and one of the crew of fellow twenty-somethings who keep your narrator thinking, feeling and inspired.

Here in full, the Madrid address of the "Vice-Pope":