Hard-Line U.S. Cardinal Gets Demoted By Pope Francis Again

FILE - This May 13, 2012 file photo shows Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, of the United States, taking part in an anti-abortion march in Rome. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, 2013 opens the door to a hos... FILE - This May 13, 2012 file photo shows Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, of the United States, taking part in an anti-abortion march in Rome. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, 2013 opens the door to a host of possible successors, from the cardinal of Milan to a contender from Ghana and several Latin Americans. Top candidates for Benedict's succession from the U.S. include Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Cardinal Raymond Burke, an arch-conservative and the Vatican's top judge. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca, files) MORE LESS
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VATICAN CITY (AP) — American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who championed campaigns to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion, was removed by Pope Francis from another top Vatican post on Saturday.

The removal of Burke as head of the Holy See’s supreme court was widely expected in church circles.

While he was archbishop of St. Louis, from 2003-2008, he led fellow American bishops in campaigns to stop giving Communion to Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion. He has also questioned some of the pontiff’s pronouncements and approaches.

Last year Francis took Burke off the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for Bishops, dealing with appointments of bishops worldwide.

On Saturday he transferred Burke from the Vatican court job to the largely ceremonial post of Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a charity whose activities include hospitals and residences for the elderly around the world.

Burke, at 66, would have still had a good decade to continue serving in high-profile Vatican posts.

His strident discourse and preference of fancy, old-fashioned vestments contrast starkly with the informal, chatty tone and simple, almost Spartan style Francis has established for his papacy.

Last month, Burke marshaled conservative criticism against the possibility the Vatican may loosen up rules that ban Communion for divorced, remarried Catholics.

Francis has said that church hierarchy should not focus so much on abortion and same-sex marriage but instead concentrate on making the church a more welcoming place. Meanwhile, Burke has said to a Catholic broadcaster that “we can never talk enough” against abortion and same-sex marriage.

He has also questioned Francis’ denunciation of excesses of capitalism.


Follow Frances D’Emilio at www.twitter.com/fdemilio

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Notable Replies

  1. Francis sees the problems that the Church faces in trying to appeal to people who were not raised in the generations when you died in your fifties.
    Thank God this man heads Catholicism today. I only hope he lives long enough to undo the damage that ultra conservatives have done to the Church.
    This move is long overdue.

  2. The Pope has decided it is necessary to personally provide Cardinal Burke with his lessons in humility. Brilliant.

  3. Avatar for ajm ajm says:

    Shorter Burke: Whaddya mean I’m not allowed to hate outloud?

  4. Very frustrating when the Pope insists on trying to follow Christ and not the well established bureaucracy politics.

  5. Avatar for drbuzz drbuzz says:

    Where are the Teabaggers and Neocons, whining about his First Amendment Rights??? Speak up, wimps!!!

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