Bertone retired as the Vatican's secretary of state last fall and reports of his housing project began circulating in April. It is about 4,000 square feet, four times the size of the pope's apartment and has balconies that feature views of Rome.
In a letter to newspapers and fellow priests, Bertone said the flat on the roof of Palazzo San Carlo was "duly converted (at my own expense) was made available for my temporary use and, after me, someone else will use it."
Bertone's successor has modest lodgings similar to those of the pope's. When asked what the pope thought of the new apartment, his spokesman said: "I have nothing to say." The pope has not made it any secret that he does not condone the opulent lifestyle that priests embrace. He has criticized priests for buying fancy cars and even booted one priest from his luxurious residence in Germany.