By Eoin Molloy
Cardinal Raymond Burke was once the highest-ranked American cardinal in the Curia as head of the Vatican’s highest court of canon law. He was appointed to this position by Pope Benedict XVI in mid-2008.
Reports suggest that tension had been growing between him and Pope Francis. He told BuzzFeed that he was relieved of this role by Pope Francis, and will instead serve as the patron of the sovereign military Order of Malta.
Burke is outspoken and conservative in equal measure. He is a champion of the ‘pro-life’ movement and has non-inclusive ‘pro-family views’. Gentle euphemisms aside, Burke is violently opposed to gay marriage. He was once quoted as saying that pro-abortion Catholics ‘should not receive Holy Communion.’
It is clear that Burke had little in common with the left-leaning, progressive and forward-thinking Pope Francis. When asked about homosexuals in 2013, the pope famously responded: ‘Who am I to judge?’
Unsurprisingly, Burke and other conservative bishops within the Curia disagreed with the pope. Mr Burke said that: ‘the pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with the regard to the immorality of homosexuality or the insolubility of marriage.’ Meow.
There appears to be an internal power-struggle occurring within the Vatican between the dogmatic conservatives of the Curia and the change-oriented, liberal-minded folk who see Francis as their leader.
Pope Francis seems to be delivering on his promise to ‘reshape the church’. Demoting regressive bishops like Mr Burke is surely the first step on that ladder.