Deceased but then influential Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin once described the palace where the Philippine president lives and holds office as a snake pit. Former Vatican State Secretary Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone is using the same image to describe the Holy See, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.
He made that claim on Tuesday that he was surrounded by crows and vipers who undermined him, causing Pope Francis to replace him over the weekend with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the current nuncio in Venezuela.
Cardinal Bertone said that as secretary of state, it appeared he decided and controlled everything, which was not what really happened. He pointed out that there were some things that got out of control which were "sealed within the management of certain people who did not contact the secretary of state."
He did not identify those people, but The Sydney Morning Herald said those words were hints that the blame for the errors should be shared by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who appointed him to the post in 2006, and resigned in February 2013.
While he admitted shortcomings from his side, the outgoing secretary of state insisted he did not act alone but is part of a team of five, four of whom were kept on their roles by Pope Francis.
However, he also admitted that "on balance I consider these seven years to have been positive."
Cardinal Parolin will officially replace Cardinal Bertone,78, on Oct 15.