Friday, June 01, 2012
The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will accompany Benedict XVI to Milan for the World Meeting of Families which kicks off this afternoon and will continue until Sunday. This is an exceptional event as it normally the Secretary of State does not follow the Pope around during the latter's travels in Italy.
The fact shows the closeness of the Pope's closest collaborator at a particularly difficult time for the Church of Rome marked by crises and investigations resulting from the leak of confidential documents from the Vatican. Benedict XVI thus intends to reinforce the message of last Wednesday when, at the end of the General Audience, he confirmed his faith in his closest collaborators and at the same time denouncing the many allegations that are raised against the Church.
Moreover, the visit in Milan takes on a meaning of showing the unity and solidarity of the Church at the time that it is hit by the media storm. While visit to the World Meeting of Families has been in Benedict XVI's schedule for some time, it has also been shown that Milan was the centre, in the recent past (as reported by various news leaks and false documents), of controversy and tension between different parts of the Catholic world and the Church.
In Milan there is to be found the Institute Toniolo which is considered a bastion of the Italian Church – and which effectively manages financially Catholic University, and around which Institute several questions have arisen. With respect to Toniolo, people speak of rivalry between the Church in Milan with the Episcopal Conference on the one hand and the Vatican and the other for the control of the Institute. Currently the president of the Toniolo is Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, who succeeded Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi. Archbishop Scola will be welcoming the Pope to Milan.