On the day of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Walt told you that his successor would not be Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. (Lifetime pct .987) A reader asks why I said that with such confidence. Very simple. [You said it! Ed.]
Bertone is easily the most disliked member of the Roman Curia -- reviled by the others for his overweaning ambition and attempts to usurp the Pope's authority, rather like Gen. Alexander Haig in the Reagan years. Then there is the matter of Bertone's incompetence in matters of state, such as his complete mishandling of the controversy over the Third Secret of Fatima. (See The Secret Still Hidden, by Christopher Ferrara. Good Counsel Publications, 2008)
Then there was the Williamson affair -- the question of what to do about Bishop Richard Williamson, of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accused of being a "Holocause denier". Bishop Williamson, along with three other SSPX bishops consecrated by Abp. Lefebvre, was supposedly excommunicated. Then, as part of the Vatican's campaign to make the traditionalists bend the knee to Rome, they were "unexcommunicated".
About 30 seconds later the modernists started whining that Williamson should have remained beyond the pale, rather than risk giving offence to the Jews with whom the Church is now supposed to make nice. Another own goal for Bertone.
That's what Joachim Cardinal Meisner of Cologne told Benedict XVI when he pleaded with the Holy Father to replace Bertone as Vatican Secretary of State. Cardinal Meisner told Frankfurter Rundschau that he approached the Pope, on behalf of several cardinals, to demand a change because Cardinal Bertone had proven incapable of handling his office.
But did the Pontiff listen? Nooo... The German cardinal said the Pope dismissed the suggestion immediately, showing his loyalty to Cardinal Bertone. Cardinal Meisner recalled: "He looked at me and said, 'Listen to me carefully! Bertone remains! Basta! Basta! Basta!' After that I never brought up the subject again."
Walt has long wondered why Pope Ratzinger has such "loyalty" to the Man Who Would Be Pope, the more so after the Vatileaks scandal of last year. Could it be that Bertone has "something" on the Pope? Something like photos of the Pope with a duck? (Agent 78 says this means something.)
Could this deep, dark and dirty secret -- if such there be -- have anything to do with Benedict's resignation? Will we ever be told the truth of the Ratzinger-Bertone relationship, or the Pope's decision to go now, before anything else happens?
Ordinarily, the Vatican being what it is, Walt would say we will never know. But... it's interesting -- verrry interresting -- that Cardinal Meisner should have chosen this moment to tell his little story to Frankfurther Rundschau. Maybe this little story has great hidden significance. Or maybe not.