Cardinal Bertone to be new Vatican Secretary of State

 Pope Benedict XVI has named Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as the next Vatican Secretary of State, replacing Cardinal Angelo Sodano . Cardinal Sodano, who has served for 15 years in the post, will formally step down on September 15, the Vatican announced yesterday. The Secretary of State is the second-ranking official at the Vatican, with broad authority over the internal and external policies of the Holy See. After his election last April, Pope Benedict t had re-appointed all the leaders of the Roman Curia who had served under Pope John Paul II. Last May, the Pope had named an American prelate, Cardinal William Levada, to fill the spot he himself had vacated, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican announcement stated that Cardinal Sodano will remain in his current position, "with all the faculties inherent to that role," until September 15. On that date, the Vatican said, Pope Benedict will receive Cardinal Sodano in an audience to thank him "for his long and generous service to the Holy See." A 71-year-old Salesian, Cardinal Bertone served from 1995 to 2002 as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he was deputy to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Unlike most prelates who have served as Secretary of State in recent years, Cardinal Bertone has never been active in the Vatican diplomatic corps; he will be the first non-diplomat to occupy the office since Cardinal Jean Villot was appointed by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Cardinal Sodano thanked Pope Benedict for the confidence he had shown by extending his appointment as Secretary of State after the death of Pope John Paul II. In his own statement released on June 22, the outgoing Secretary of State offered his best wishes to Cardinal Bertone, his successor. Source: VIS

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