Among the mishaps on Bertone's watch, the new archbishop of Warsaw had to quit in 2007 one hour before his installation because he had spied for the communist-era police. This was known in Poland but the pope was long kept in the dark.
In 2009, Catholics, Jews and German politicians rounded on Benedict after he rehabilitated four rebel bishops, including one who was a notorious Holocaust denier. The shocked pope had to admit Curia officials had not done a quick search on him on the Internet, where his extreme-right views were on full display.
According to leakers quoted anonymously in the Italian media, the trigger for the campaign was the last consistory in February where an unusually high number of Italians and Curia officials were made cardinals who will vote for the next pope.
Bertone is not the frontrunner to succeed Benedict - Milan Cardinal Angelo Scola is often mentioned as the best-placed - but the way he has strongly promoted his allies has led to suspicions he wants to play a role when the voting takes place.
"The most delicate power balances in the Vatican are obviously at stake," La Stampa wrote.