Pope moves Cardinal Burke out of Roman Curia

Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Raymond Burke as Patron of the Order of Malta, in a move which leaves the US prelate out of the Roman Curia.

Cardinal Burke, 66, was formerly the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest court.

His role in the Order of Malta is largely a ceremonial one, without any influence in the governance of the Church.

Given his age and seniority, the much-anticipated move is unprecedented and many therefore view it as a demotion.

But he is expected to continue to live in Rome and be prominent in the media.

Cardinal Burke has been an outspoken critic of the recent Synod on the Family where many participants called for the Church to adopt less harsh language when talking about homosexuality, the divorced and remarried, and cohabiting couples.

He said many prelates were horrified at the suggestion there could be good elements in mortally sinful acts.

Last week, Cardinal Burke reportedly likened the Church to “a ship without a rudder”.

He insisted he was not speaking out against the Pope personally, but was raising concerns about his leadership.

He said he does not see himself as an opponent of the Pope.

In recent days, Cardinal Burke told media the idea that the Church could teach the indissolubility of marriage, while at the same time denying that truth in practice, is unacceptable.

Last year, Pope Francis removed Cardinal Burke from a committee of the Congregation for Bishops that advises the Pope on episcopal appointments.

A small group of cardinals had advised Francis to remove him from the committee because of his tendency to block candidates who were considered not sufficiently orthodox or capable of serving as bishops.

Last week, Austrian church authorities denied Cardinal Burke permission to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form in a parish church.

The new prefect of the Apostolic Signtura is Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, who was the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States – effectively the Holy See’s foreign minister.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the apostolic nuncio in Australia, has been appointed to Archbishop Mamberti’s former position.


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