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A help close by for the family of God

· Letter to Cardinal Bertone ·

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood (1 July 1960), the Holy Father addressed the following Letter to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sdb, his Secretary of State. The following is a translation of the Pope's Letter, which was written in Italian and dated 1 June 2010.

To Our Venerable Brother

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB

Secretary of State and Camerlengo

of Holy Roman Church

Since we are on regular, reciprocal familiar terms that stem from meeting almost every day, it is right and proper to address our heartfelt congratulations to you personally on the 50th anniversary of your ordination to the priesthood.

However, in addition to this task, it is very pleasant to us to communicate our thoughts to you, through this Letter, so that our esteem for you may be more visible.

While we are going through difficult times, we consider that you should think back to happier events of the past, when, through the imposition of the hands of our Venerable Brother, Albino Mensa, you were promoted to sacred Orders, surrounded by your relatives and confreres.

Nor does it escape us that subsequently, well-grounded in the juridical disciplines, you should have devoted yourself to educating and guiding young people, with your teaching and with your writings, both within your Salesian family and outside it.

Hence it is hardly surprising that with our Predecessor, the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, who chose you as Archbishop of Vercelli and as a faithful herald of the divine benefits, you held an important post and enjoyed his esteem.

At the wish of the same Pontiff, you later began to serve in the office of Secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, establishing a congenial atmosphere of cooperation in our common work.

In the Church of Genoa too, to which you dedicated your zeal and your apostolic efforts, there are testimonies of your pastoral ministry on many sides and we recognize the benefit to the ecclesial community. It was there, moreover, that you received an even more distinguished rank through your enrolment in the College of Father Cardinals.

Calling to mind more recent times, we wanted you as our close collaborator, choosing you as Secretary of State, with whom to share decisions and duties. Without any doubt you are doing your utmost with great commitment and expertise to share in our pastoral projects for the universal Church and in our projects for the whole world, so that God's family may be strengthened and the world become more harmonious.

Thus, as we wholeheartedly rejoice in the commemoration of the happy beginnings of your priesthood, we express these sentiments of esteem and our affectionate congratulations while, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Mary Help of Christians, and of St John Bosco, we implore an abundant reward from the Divine Teacher.

Lastly, with fraternal affection we impart to you, our Venerable Brother, the Apostolic Blessing, also abundantly extended to all who are bound to you by ties of kinship or work.

From the Vatican, 1 June of the year 2010, the sixth of our Pontificate.




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 22, 2019