Only American curia prefect set for demotion

Speculation is mounting that the only American to currently head a dicastery in the Roman Curia is soon to be replaced.

Writing for L’Espresso, Vatican journalist Sandro Mangister posited that the next “victim” of Pope Francis’s “revolution” will be the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the Church’s highest judicial authority, other than the Pope.

Magister believes Cardinal Burke will be appointed “cardinal patron” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a purely honorary position, which would be a spectacular ecclesiastical demotion.

Previously, being appointed cardinal patron of the Malta order would be in addition to other roles, Magister noted, so being appointed to this role by itself would be without precedent.

It would lead to Cardinal Burke not having any role in the Roman Curia at all.

Liturgically and theologically, Cardinal Burke is very close to Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Magister wrote.

The journalist pointed out that Cardinal Burke had crossed swords with other US prelates over issues like giving Communion to politicians who vote for laws against Church teaching.

Cardinal Burke also once described Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium as “orientational”, but not “magisterial”.

An expert in canon law, Cardinal Burke “is also recognised as having the rare virtue of never having struck any deals to obtain ecclesiastical promotions or benefices”, Magister wrote.

But recent conservative decisions by the Apostolic Signatura might have counted against him the journalist wrote.

Late last year, Pope Francis removed Cardinal Burke as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s so-called C9 council of cardinals has met this week to further work on Church governance reform.

In their three days of talks and study, the nine cardinals “focused on two principle hotspots”, a Vatican spokesman said in a written statement.

The first topic included the laity, the family, “the role of women in society and the Church, youth, childhood, or matters related to lay associations and movements and so on”, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, wrote.

The second topic combined the issues of “justice and peace, charity, migrants and refugees, health, and the protection of life and ecology, especially human ecology”, the written statement said.

The way the different issues were divided into two major areas seemed to lend credence to news reports predicting mergers of pontifical councils into larger congregations.


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