Cardinal Bertone describes Pope's strategy for tackling sexual abuse

Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.
Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.


The Pope's clear line against sexual abuses of minors will help the Church resolve the "delicate problem” of pedophilia, said Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone in an interview upon his return from an official visit to Chile. The cardinal highlighted the major elements of the Pope's strategy for preventing further abuses within the Church and for protecting young people.

Cardinal Bertone was in Chile from April 5-15 to visit areas affected by the recent earthquake, to express the Pope's solidarity with the people of the nation and to deliver a statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel blessed by the Holy Father.

In an interview granted to the Vatican's television and radio stations and newspaper, the prelate first spoke about the "great affection, communion, (and) solidarity" of the people of Chile with the Holy Father. He said that as he brought the Pope's message of solidarity to the people there, they expressed their reciprocal feelings, prayers, recognition and support for his mission and "his meek, courageous and convincing teaching."

Among questions regarding the trip, the cardinal was asked how he thought the Church would emerge from the "delicate problem" of sexual abuse of minors by clergy members. Cardinal Bertone explained that it would be by following Pope Benedict's "very clear line" in which certain practices are "deepened" and emphasis is given to "great commitment of fidelity to Christ ...”

Cardinal Bertone pointed out three major tenets of the Pope's approach, the first being "purification and ... penance," to take on decisively our mission according to God's plan. Secondly, he observed that "a courageous and strong educational commitment" to the formation of youth and educators is need to give them values that nourish their lives and behaviors.

"The renewal of the priestly mission" is the third element, Cardinal Bertone said, adding that it must take place "according to the project of Christ, who is the model of every priest," using "the great messages the Pope has given in this Year for Priests."

Answering other questions in the interview, the Vatican secretary of state highlighted the historic presence of the Church in Latin America and emphasized the importance of maintaining the centrality of the human person in economics.

Having returned from Chile on April 15, Cardinal Bertone was also able to join Pope Benedict in visiting Malta this past weekend.

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