In his speech stepping down as Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone spoke of the personal suffering of Pope Benedict XVI caused by the ills plaguing the Church and most especially the dreadful crime of child sex abuse by clergy:
Pope Emeritus Benedict “suffered greatly on account of the ills that plagued the church, and for this reason he gave her new legislation in order to strike out decisively the shameful phenomenon of pedophilia among the clergy, without forgetting the initiation of new rules in economic and administrative matters”.
Cardinal Bertone also gave insight into the shared vision that directed the Benedictine pontificate:
‘What stirred our passion with Pope Benedict XVI was to see the church understand itself deeply as a communion, and at the same time speak to the world, to the heart and to the intelligence of all with clarity of doctrine and a high level of thought.’
Cardinal Bertone challenged those who suggest that Pope Francis is breaking with Pope Benedict XVI:
‘”I see today in Pope Francis not so much a revolution but a continuity with Pope Benedict XVI even with their differences in style and personal life,” the cardinal said, noting in particular the strong devotion to Mary — and particularly Our Lady of Fatima — that he said united the two pontiffs.’
Protect the Pope comment: It is well known in the Church that Cardinal Ratzinger faced up the evils besetting the Church, describing the crimes of paedophile priests as a ‘volcano of filth’. Cardinal Bertone’s words confirm that Pope Benedict saw putting legislation in place to deal with this crime as a priority of his pontificate. Furthermore, the usual suspects who are touting the ‘spirit of Francis’ to justify their dissent also push the idea that there is a hermeneutic of discontinuity between Francis and Benedict. Cardinal Bertone says that this is not so.