Benedict XVI has written a letter to Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, Camerlengo (Chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church, whose resignation from office was accepted today. The Holy Father also named Cardinal Martinez’s successor – Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
In the text of his letter, which bears today's date, the Pope thanked Cardinal Martinez, who celebrated his 80th birthday on March 31, "for the diligence, competence and love with which you undertook such a delicate task in the service of the Holy See and the Universal Church.”
The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church is basically that Cardinal charged with the Church’s material affairs; he is the administrator of the property and the revenues of the Holy See. According to the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus:” “When the Apostolic See falls vacant (the Pope dies), it is the right and the duty of the cardinal camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, personally or through his delegate, to request reports from all the administrations dependent on the Holy See on their patrimonial and economic status as well as information on any extraordinary business that may at that time be under way, and, from the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See he shall request a financial statement on income and expenditures of the previous year and the budgetary estimates for the following year. He is obliged to submit these reports and estimates to the College of Cardinals.”
Pope Benedict expressed to Cardinal Martinez his particular appreciation "for the great dignity and solemnity with which you carried out the role of camerlengo of Holy Roman Church at the time of the death of the lamented Pope John Paul II, for the occasion of the extraordinary expression of faith during the funeral of the beloved Pontiff, during the entire period of sede vacante, and in the work of the conclave for the election of the new Pope.”