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When he opened wid to Christ the doors of hearts

· Cardina Bertone explains the teaching of the new Blessed in two interviews ·

Karol Wojtyla could be proclaimed a saint in just a few years according to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State. Interviewed by Bruno Vespa on Italian television show, Porta a Porta , on Sunday, May 1st, the Cardinal also touched on the topic of the Third Secret of Fatima, for which he said, there “ was a lot of pressure.”

Before the publication of the Third Secret, Bertone said, John Paul II, “wanted to consult Sister Lucia,” and asked the Cardinal to visit her. “Papa Wojtyla,” Bertone said Sunday night, “told me – ‘There is a great demand to publish this secret; the third part of this secret as we received it in the handwriting of Sister Lucia. But I would be happy if Sister Lucia were consulted about the authenticity of the text that we have here in the Vatican and also, if possible, on the interpretation, because I interpret the text as an event that touched me personally through the assassination attempt. Even if the Pope is not dead.”

Bertone visited Sister Lucia. “She told me that when she heard the news of the attempt on the Pope’s life, that she herself thought that this was the event that the secret had predicted.

“Besides,” added Bertone, “everyone feared the Pope’s death; the death of a man dressed in white. But the Pope was on the verge of death, as he himself explained in that famous talk from the Gemelli hospital, and a maternal hand deviated the bullet and saved him. Cardinal Ratzinger later explained that theologically, this occurred through the strength of intercessionary prayer, for the “legions of good people” who converted and remained united to Christ and who prayed for the Pope and for everyone.”

In another interview on Italian Radio News 1, Cardinal Bertone spoke with Director Antonio Preziosi remembering mostly the man of prayer, “kneeling and sometimes prostrate on the ground praying, because John Paul II was a great man of prayer and he received from prayer the spiritual energy that strengthened him, and helped him to address the difficulties of the most intricate situations in the history of the world.

Responding to a question about the chain of world events set off 30 years ago by the famous phrase, “Be Not Afraid! Open Wide the Doors to Christ,” the Cardinal said, “John Paul II came from a situation in which the doors of the social, political, and cultural world of his nation and of his time were closed to Christ and the Christian faith. So his cry to open wide the doors to Christ was in a certain sense the cry that gave voice and strength to his action to open a gap in the world and let Christ enter with all of his redeeming and healing strength and at the same time a request to the whole world to open it’s hearts and doors to the one and only universal Savior.”

A cry, continued the Secretary of State, that together with all of, “his apostolic activities, especially the apostolic visits, and his messages spread throughout the world to all people in all latitudes,” truly contributed to opening wide, “many doors to Christ and especially the doors to many hearts.”

Preziosi then asked Bertone if there are still doors to be opened today and if so, which ones. “If we take only Europe,” Bertone responded, “we see that today there are still certain forms of turning away from Christ. The Popes in our time have asked Europe to recognize its Christian roots and Europe has not wanted to do so officially in the Constitution of the new European Union. Then if we consider how many Christians have been persecuted and how many economic, political and social systems seem resistant to the leaven of the Gospel, a leaven which softens harshness, obtuseness, ignorance, misunderstandings and contradictions and favors convergence, objectives tailored to the human person, the integral development of man, the family, the human community. Much has been done but there is still much to do.” One of those things, the Cardinal said is, “A commitment to healthy and balanced young people, who are open to Christ, pure and clear, who experience love and celebrate it but according to the plan of Christ, following the example of John Paul II.”

Regarding the much desired papal trips to Moscow and China, Bertone recalled the reasons that the Pontificate hopes for these visits – in part, he said, a desire to directly experience the great spirituality of the Russian Orthodox Church. “Certainly Moscow and the great Russia,” he said, “are very close to the Catholic Church.” Especially on social and ethical questions, “and this is already, I would say a humus, an ground from which we can collaborate and bring an effective and incisive message to the world.”

Then, Bertone continued, “there is the great China which the Pope loved.” He recalled the Letter of Benedict XVI, in perfect harmony with all of the messages of John Paul II. In fact, “there is no specific letter from Papa Wojtyla to China,” said Bertone. “But it has been written and sent by his successor. This gives a sense of continuity between the two pontificates.” As for the relationship between the Church and China, Bertone added that there is still a long way to go, “but a good bit of the road has been traveled and hope never dies, on the contrary, there is more hope now for a positive meeting and a collaboration between the Church and the great China.”

The following day, the radio program addressed the topics of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism. Cardinal Bertone recalled the experience of Papa Wojtyla, “as a young worker amidst other workers but with a deep spirituality,” to his mission as Bishop of Krakow, “when faced with a society that wanted to create a city, a quarter without Christ, he wanted to plant the cross of Christ and build a beautiful church.” The actions of Papa Wojtyla were animated by an extraordinary strength, “from a great spiritual energy, atomic, which crumbled the Berlin Wall without guns or spilling of blood and helped to forge consciences which yearned for freedom and consciences that affirmed the rights of the human person, the rights of people to their freedom, to faith and to Christian freedom.”

On the question of John Paul II’s idea of a just world, the Cardinal cited the social encyclicals of the Pontiffs and the teaching, example and encouragement they gave to new Christian-Catholic movements within the church which “forges many people who are just and able to transform society from the inside.”

The Cardinal also answered questions about the assassination attempt on the Pope’s life and the secret of Fatima. Preziosi asked whether we should consider the revelations of the secret finished. “They are finished in part,” said Cardinal Bertone. “In the part described by Sister Lucia. But as Cardinal Ratzinger said in his talk, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. Therefore, we need to cultivate hope and not be catastrophic, but always in line with a commitment to fidelity under the protection of the Madonna, because the fight between good and evil is a permanent one. The danger of a new catastrophe and the danger of un-human and anti-human situations is always at the door.”

Then, a question on the apologies which Papa Wojtyla did not hesistate to offer many times. “To ask for pardon,” said the Secretary of State, “we know, was an act of courage for which he would have wanted a reciprocity on the part of others. Unfortunately, there was no response of this type.”

Finally, the Director of the radio asked about the Pope’s trip to Cuba and his meeting with Fidel Castro. It was, said Bertone, “a trip that restored a new consciousness to the Cuban people. A consciousness of the need for a profound regeneration, the desire to obtain greater liberty.” Yet, it was a trip that was good for Fidel Castro too.  Bertone recalled, “John Paul II told me: ‘I have never met a man, a head of State, who has read so many of my encyclicals, my books and my poetry. When Fidel Castro spoke with me, every so often he cited something from one of my talks, or encyclicals or one of my poems.’ That means,” continued the Cardinal, “that the Pope’s trip to Cuba encouraged Fidel Castro to read some good literature, in particular the social encyclicals of Papa Wojtyla.”




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 14, 2019