Francis Dumps U.S. Cardinal Who Is Outspoken Critic Of Abortion, Gay Marriage
Pope Francis announced changes in the influential Vatican office that evaluates and nominates candidates for bishop around the world.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was appointed Monday to the Congregation for Bishops. The pope also reconfirmed Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco and former head of the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog office.
Some members of the congregation were very conspicuously not retained. Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis, will no longer serve in the office.
Burke is considered an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage and a favorite of conservative Catholics. He has also been publicly critical of Francis’s changes in the direction of the church. Burke retains his position as the head of the Vatican high court, the Apostolic Signatura.
Burke drew attention in the U.S. in 2004 when he said he would deny Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights.
While Burke may no longer be one of the group who reviews new candidates for bishop, he remains the head of the highest judicial authority in the Church. Yes, the pope does hear appeals of decisions from the Tribunal and can overrule it, but it is highly unlikely that he would have left Burke in place if he were trying to purge the Vatican hierarchy of conservative cardinals.
And let us remember that this pontiff excommunicated this guy just a few months ago.