Tags: Baptism | Fire | for | New | 'Deputy | Pope'

Baptism of Fire for New 'Deputy Pope'

Friday, 15 September 2006 12:00 AM

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict's new "deputy" took office on Friday and looked set for a baptism of fire as he seeks to contain the fallout over the Pontiff's comments about Islam which drew fire from Muslims worldwide.

At a ceremony at the papal summer residence south of Rome, Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 71, took over as Secretary of State from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, 78, who retired after 15 years as the Vatican's top diplomat.

The secretary of state, dubbed the "deputy pope" because he is number two in the Vatican hierarchy, has broad administrative duties to coordinate the work of the Holy See's departments and their dealings with the Catholic Church's worldwide operations.

Bertone, former archbishop of the northwestern city of Genoa, has no diplomatic experience but as the Vatican's top diplomat will oversee relations with some 174 countries.

Ironically, his first major task will be to deal with the crisis that hit the Vatican following widespread condemnation by Muslims around the world of Pope Benedict's comments about Islam during his trip to Germany last Tuesday.

Muslims have deplored the remarks and many of them have said the Catholic leader should apologise in person to dispel the impression that he had joined a campaign against their religion.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab world's largest group of political Islamists, demanded an apology from the Pope and called on the governments of Islamic countries to break relations with the Vatican if he does not make one.

As the Vatican's top diplomat, Bertone will have to work hard to avoid breaks or strains in relations and explain the Vatican's view that the Pope did not mean to offend Islam.

In his speech, the Pope appeared to endorse a Christian view, contested by most Muslims, that the early Muslims spread their religion by violence.

He repeated criticism of the Prophet Mohammad by the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything Mohammad brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

He used the terms "jihad" and "holy war" in his lecture, and added that "violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul".

The secretary of state oversees most Vatican affairs during a papal illness, as Sodano did during the final months in the life of Pope John Paul, who died in April last year.

Bertone made headlines last year when he led the Vatican's charge against "The Da Vinci Code", calling the best-selling book "a sack full of lies" and urging Catholics to shun it.

In other changes, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, 71, stepped down as Vatican foreign minister and was succeeded by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, 54, a Frenchman who has served as Vatican ambassador to Sudan and Eritrea.

Lajolo, an Italian, became governor of Vatican City, succeeding American Cardinal Edmund Szoka, who retired.

(c) Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.

103

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict's new "deputy" took office on Friday and looked set for a baptism of fire as he seeks to contain the fallout over the Pontiff's comments about Islam which drew fire from Muslims worldwide. At a ceremony at the papal summer residence south of...
Baptism,Fire,for,New,'Deputy,Pope'
483
2006-00-15
Friday, 15 September 2006 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved