ROME — Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s outgoing secretary of state, has denounced what he calls the “crows and vipers” at work within the Vatican and appeared to suggest that former Pope Benedict should share some of the blame for mistakes made on his watch.
In his first public remarks since he was replaced Saturday as the Vatican equivalent of prime minister, Bertone took aim at critics who allege he oversaw a gaffe-prone and scandal-filed papacy after Benedict appointed him in 2006.
“On balance, I consider these seven years to have been positive,” Bertone said on the sidelines of a Mass celebrated Sunday in Sicily. “Naturally there were problems, particularly in the last two years, they have made many accusations against me. … A mix of crows and vipers.”
Bertone has been depicted as overseeing a Vatican divided by rivalries and suffering from mismanagement. That characterization has surfaced both in letters leaked last year by Benedict’s butler and reportedly in comments by other disgruntled Vatican officials, who were nicknamed “crows.”