Cardinal Raymond Burke: Pope Francis Takes Action to Remove Vocal US Critic from Vatican

Pope Francis Takes Unprecedented Step to Remove US Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Vocal Critic, from Vatican Residence and Cuts Salary

In a surprising move, Pope Francis is planning to evict Cardinal Raymond Burke, a 75-year-old outspoken critic from the United States, from his Vatican apartment and is revoking his salary. Burke is known for being part of a group of American conservatives opposing the Pope’s efforts to reform the Catholic Church.

According to a Vatican source, Pope Francis has not yet executed the decision, emphasizing that it is not intended as a personal punishment but is based on the principle that one should not enjoy cardinal privileges while openly criticizing the head of the church.

Christopher White, a Vatican observer, highlighted the unprecedented nature of the decision in the Francis era, stating that retired cardinals typically continue to reside in Rome after stepping down, participating in papal liturgies and ceremonial duties. Evicting someone from their Vatican apartment sets a new precedent, according to White.

The move is expected to generate significant backlash and potentially deepen existing divides between the Vatican and the US church, which already experiences fragmentation.

Cardinal Burke, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, has not responded to the news, and the BBC has reached out to his office for comment. Pope Francis revealed his plan to take action against the cardinal during a meeting with heads of Vatican offices last week.

This decision aligns with Pope Francis’s growing frustration with US detractors who hold more traditional or conservative views on various issues. Earlier this month, the Pope fired conservative Texas bishop Joseph Strickland for criticizing the church’s shift toward more liberal positions on abortion, transgender rights, and same-sex marriage.

Tensions with Cardinal Burke have been simmering for nearly a decade, with the American prelate openly criticizing Pope Francis over social and liturgical issues. Observers suggest that the Pope perceives Burke as fostering a cult of personality centered around traditionalism or regressive ideals, leading to this action to limit Burke’s influence by severing ties to Rome.

Cardinal Burke’s recent conference in Rome, The Synodal Babel, and his participation in publishing a “declaration of truths” in 2019 criticizing the church’s direction under Pope Francis have further strained relations.

This move comes amidst broader disagreements on issues such as Covid vaccines and a history of conflicting views on the firing of the head of the Knights of Malta within church politics. Pope Francis has previously demoted Cardinal Burke within the church hierarchy, reflecting their ongoing disagreements. Critics argue that this recent action shows Pope Francis “cancelling faithful prelates who offer hierarchical cover to pro-life, pro-family, pro-tradition hardliners” and putting them in “forced isolation.”

Thiago Monteiro

Journalist with various important contacts in the field of celebrities and sports, crafting unique articles with exclusives.

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