Pope Francis, via a well-placed leak to the press, is blistering Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican secretary of state, for his fancypants retirement digs. Excerpt:
A sermon he gave shortly before Easter is believed to have revealed his reaction to Bertone’s project, in which he slammed “unctuous, sumptuous, presumptuous” clerics, La Repubblica reported.
Responding to claims the attack was partially aimed at him, Bertone told Italian news agency ANSA at the time: “I don’t understand these attacks.
“I am in harmony with the pope. He likes me.”
In a message sent to the newsletter of his former dioceses, the 79-year-old prelate addressed rumours that the property is 700sq metres (7,500 sq ft) – claiming it is actually half this size.
Oh, that’s rich. Even if it were 3,250 square feet, that’s much larger than most family houses — and he’s just one man living there, though with three nuns (who are there to serve him as housekeepers; if the old man lived in a normal-sized apartment, he could free up two of those nuns to help others). And he’s a cleric, not an oligarch. His luxury flat is between five to ten times larger than the apartment that the Pope — the Pope! — lives in. What a scandal.
Bertone has said that Francis, on whose small apartment Bertone’s penthouse will overlook, supports him. Funny, but when the Guardian asked the papal spokesman for a comment, he said, basically, “No comment.”
I don’t always understand why Pope Francis does what he does, but I think he’s setting a good example on the clerical lavishness front.