On the one hand, "getting rid of Cardinal Bertone in the midst of a long-term campaign against him could be seen as an evidence of Bertone's wrongdoing, and so also as evidence of Benedict XVI's incompetence in choosing his collaborators."
On the other hand, keeping Cardinal Bertone at his post would not even damage Pope Francis' image, as the secretariate of state has been exerting less influence during his pontificate.
According to the Vaticanista Sandro Magister, "the State Secretariat continues its routine work, but much more at work is another secretariat, miniscule but highly active, which in direct service to the Pope attends to the matters that he wants to resolve himself, without any interference whatsoever."
It is also possible that the importance of the secretariat of state will be diminished after the curial reform.
In fact, a possible reform of the Roman Curia has been much discussed during recent years.
A monsignor working in a Pontifical Council who asked for anonymity told CNA Aug. 20 that a draft of such a reform was sketched out in 2005, shortly before Blessed John Paul II's death.
That draft had suggested creating a committee composed of the prefects of Congregations and some trusted cardinals charged with managing the Church. This committee would take over the first set of duties currently carried out by the secretariat of state.
Thus, the state secretariat would only deal with the relations with states, not Church governance.
Ultimately, the governance of the Holy See would be run by a sort of pyramid structure: on the top, the management committee, a sort of council of cardinals; then the Congregations; and the Pontifical Council, which would become a sort of department in the ministries.
This sketch, the source maintains, "has been quietly proposed" to Pope Francis, and, with some modifications, "can be one of the proposal to be discussed by the group of eight cardinals."