Pontiff Congratulates Closest Collaborator


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VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2010 ( With a personal letter alluding to their 15-year history as close collaborators, Benedict XVI has congratulated his secretary of state for marking 50 years as a priest.

A June 1 letter from the Pope to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was published today by L'Osservatore Romano. The Salesian celebrated his 50th anniversary on Thursday.

The Holy Father noted in his letter how he meets with the cardinal almost daily, and says it is thus "fitting and right to personally address to you my heartfelt good wishes on the 50th year of your presbyterial ordination."

He recalled how Cardinal Bertone "had the esteem" of Pope John Paul II, and how the Polish Pope made him an archbishop.

"By the will of the same Pontiff," Benedict XVI continued, "you later began to carry out the office of secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, establishing a familiarity between the two of us in the work we shared."

Cardinal Ratzinger was the prefect of that congregation, having been appointed to the post in 1981. Then-Archbishop Bertone was named its secretary in 1995.

Sharing work

The Holy Father goes on to recall how he chose the cardinal as his secretary of state, wanting him to be a "close collaborator [...] with whom to share decisions and tasks."

"Undoubtedly, you are exerting yourself with great commitment and skill in being part of the pastoral projects of the universal Church, and initiatives addressed to the whole world, so that the family of God will be reinforced and the world may become more harmonious," the Pope stated.

He affirmed that "while I rejoice wholeheartedly in recalling the happy beginning of your priesthood, I express these sentiments of esteem and affectionate congratulations as I implore, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians and of St. John Bosco, the abundant recompense of the Divine Teacher."