Pope Francis shakes up important Congregation for Bishops

Pope Francis has reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.

On Monday, the Vatican announced the removal of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..

Burke is known as an outspoken critic of abortion and gay marriage.

The New York Times reported that “the pope’s decision to remove Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation for Bishops was taken by church experts to be a signal that Francis is willing to disrupt the Vatican establishment in order to be more inclusive.”

“Even so, many saw the move less as an effort to change doctrine on specific social issues than an attempt to bring a stylistic and pastoral consistency to the church’s leadership.”

Rocco Palmo, who writes the blog “Whispers in the Loggia,” called the move a Franciscan “flush.”

“For those who enjoy what Italians do best, that Wuerl – already known to be a sought-out figure in Francis’ orbit – has replaced Burke, his historic rival and cardinal-classmate, on the Congregation’s membership is nothing short of extraordinary,” Palmo wrote.

The pope also removed Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, although his removal is not unexpected since he is retired with the title Philadelphia archbishop emeritus.

The Congregation for Bishops shapes the worldwide church by giving the pope a list of three priests for each opening of a bishop’s chair. The pope then picks from the three, though he can, and sometimes does, name another man.


The New York Times
St Louis Public Radio
Image of Burke: AP/NPR

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,