Cardinal Bertone Announced Upcoming Release of Criteria for Implementation of Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum 

Source: FSSPX News


In a long interview granted to the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana on Janury 6, the Secretary of State of the Holy See reviewed the year 2007. Speaking about the Motu Proprio liberalizing the use of the Tridentine Missal, Cardinal Bertone reported “disproportionate” reactions: “Some went so far as to accuse the pope of having reneged on the teaching of Vatican II. On the other hand, there were those who interpreted the motu proprio as authorization to return to the pre-conciliar rite alone.” In his eyes, “Both positions are wrong, exaggerations that don’t correspond to the intentions of the pope.” This is why “we plan to put together an ‘instruction’ which will clearly establish the criteria for application of the Motu Proprio of July 7, 2007.

Cardinal Bertone also spoke about secularity, underlining that “A conception of secularity that’s opposed to religion is anti-historical.” He stated “the president of ultra-secular France, Nicolas Sarkozy, said just a few days ago in Rome that the Catholic Church is a resource rather than an obstacle for the development of his country. It does not contradict Republican ideals. Will it ever be possible for Italian secularists to think like this?”

On the ecumenical front, Cardinal Bertone hailed the progress already made. “The ecumenical problem is among the priorities of the pontificate of Benedict XVI,” added the Roman prelate, who stressed that  papal primacy remained one of the problems that needed reflection. He added that “On some themes, for example the family, peace, the environment, unity is more visible. On theological issues discussion will continue.” He believes that because of the esteem Pope Benedict XVI enjoys as a theologian concrete steps can be taken  on this level too.

Asked about the letter sent by 138 Muslim intellectuals, religious, and dignitaries, the Italian Cardinal thought it would “stimulate a concrete deepening of dialogue with Islam in the pluralism of positions,” adding that “the response of the Holy See was positive and heralds further steps.” He recalled that the pope had expressed his willingness to receive a delegation and had said: “We have to think carefully about what unites us, without forgetting what divides us.”

Cardinal Bertone also mentioned the Church’s concern for the situation in the Middle East. “The pope talks about it with the leaders who come to visit the Vatican, and he also offered an extraordinary number of appeals on the subject during his Sunday Angelus addresses this year,” he said. The policy of closure of Israel, though understandable, place restrictions on Catholic activity. “We understand the problem of security in Israel,” continued the Cardinal. But this must not mutate into a negative attitude towards members of the Catholic Church, which has done so much in the last 15 years both for regularizing relations with Israel and for improving the understanding of Judaism.” “We’re engaged in an intense dialogue, but unfortunately we’re not able to obtain solutions to concrete problems: property rights, visas, etc. Our religious personnel in the Holy Land can’t get visas, even though you certainly can’t say they pose any threat to security. This is a kind of closure that gets in the way of serene activity.”

Concerning Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi, Cardinal Bertone felt that “the entire world will have to reflect” upon it. Because “The aspiration to well-being, the habit of having it all, of living in prosperity, the euphoria of wealth presented as the lone measure of hope, are today placed at risk by the economic situation. This always happens whenever hope is based upon material goods.”

Evoking the situation in China, the Secretary of State pointed out that “openings and contacts were underway.” He rejoiced over the recognition this year by the Chinese communist party of the positive value of religions. He summed up his position thus: “Let’s say that we’re taking small steps, but we’re moving forward.”

Speaking next about Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to the United States from April 15 to 20, the Secretary of State of the Holy See acknowledged that it would take place in the middle of election campaign. He affirmed that the pope was non-partisan, while stressing however that “it was impossible to control how the trip might be instrumentalized.”

On the other hand, Cardinal Bertone underlined the importance of “reinforcing synergy among the Catholic media,” alluding to a project the Vatican “is working on to connect L’Osservatore Romano to certain Italian dailies.” “It is the same thing we need to do for Catholic non-governmental organizations: working together rather than separately, or worse yet, in opposition.” For the Italian cardinal, “The conciliar idea of the Church as communion needs to be translated into the daily activity of NGOs and the Catholic media: creating networks and having a greater impact, because otherwise we risk decline and not meeting the challenges created by contemporary society.” (Sources: famiglia cristiana/