The Fall of the Vice-Pope / The New York Review of Books

A photograph taken in Argentina in 2007 shows two cardinals, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Tarcisio Bertone, sitting side by side, although their chairs are on two different levels. At the time, Bertone was the Vatican’s Secretary of State, having traveled to a village in northern Patagonia ‘in the name of His Holiness Benedict XVI’ to preside over the beatification of a turn-of-the-century religious student.

“Bertone’s wooden armchair sits on a dais that puts him a good six inches higher than Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who perches uncomfortably on his metal-and-plastic seat, and the man known to many as the “vice-pope” occupies his virtual throne with kingly complacency, clad in yards of fine Italian filetto lace beneath his golden chasuble, with a sporty pair of aviator sunglasses to complement his gold-embroidered miter (and is that a Rolex on his wrist?). Next to him, in Jesuit black under plain white robes, Cardinal Bergoglio, with his iron cross and his horn-rimmed spectacles, looks open-mouthed upon the radiant spectacle, his famously mobile face providing the perfect caption to the picture. Six years later, Bergoglio became Pope Francis, and things have not been the same since.”

By Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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