Pope Peeved by Ex-No. 2's Posh Digs: Report

Retired cardinal isn't exactly retiring to a humble abode

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 2, 2014 1:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis is a frugal guy, but some of the Vatican's higher-ups are apparently having a hard time following his example. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the church's recently retired No. 2 and secretary of state under the less austere Pope Benedict, is renovating an apartment in which to spend his golden years. The problem is that Bertone's new rooftop digs are attracting descriptors like "luxury," "spacious," and "penthouse," with "breathtaking views"—and the Guardian reports that Francis is none too happy with the opulence. Says a papal spokesman rather ominously: "I have nothing to say."

Italian media are reporting that the penthouse is some 7,500 square feet, and while Bertone claims it's about half that size, he acknowledges that it's large—albeit typical for old buildings in the Vatican. He claims that it was "duly converted (at my own expense) was made available for my temporary use and, after me, someone else will use it." And contrary to being the subject of Francis' ire, Bertone claims he's had an "affectionate telephone call" from the pontiff, in which Francis expressed his "solidarity and disappointment at the attacks directed at me." Francis, it's worth noting, shunned the opulent papal apartment early in his tenure, opting instead to live in a simple hotel suite. Bertone's apartment, the Guardian claims, is about five times larger. (Bertone has kind of a colorful history.)

Pope Francis leaves at the end of a meeting with faithful at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Sunday, June 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
In this Tuesday, July 6, 2010 file photo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, Files)
In this picture provided Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, Pope Francis bids farewell to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone during a ceremony at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
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