Pope Francis has reportedly decided to evict American Cardinal Raymond Burke from his Vatican-subsidized apartment and strip him of his salary as a retired cardinal.
The decision comes after years of tension between Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke, who emerged as a prominent critic of the pontiff, often seen as a de facto antipope by frustrated traditionalists.
According to a high-ranking Vatican official who spoke anonymously, Pope Francis informed a meeting of Vatican officials about his intention to remove Cardinal Burke due to his role as a source of “disunity” within the church. The Vatican has not officially confirmed or denied the reports, leading to widespread speculation and debate within the Catholic community.
The news of the possible eviction was first reported by the conservative Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, known for its proximity to Cardinal Burke. This development follows the recent removal of another conservative critic, Bishop Joseph Strickland, after a Vatican investigation into the governance of his diocese.
While some conservatives attribute these actions to the influence of Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, the head of the church’s office on church doctrine, supporters of Pope Francis argue that the pontiff has shown patience with criticism but is now taking action against those seen as promoting division within the church.
Cardinal Burke, known for his loyalty to doctrinal law and papal traditions, has been a vocal opponent of Pope Francis on various issues, including immigration, the softening of stances on LGBTQ+ matters, and the church’s laws. The cardinal’s clashes with the pope even extended to matters of vestments and style preferences.
Critics view Pope Francis’s disciplinary measures against Cardinal Burke as a crackdown on dissenters to his right, while others see it as a necessary step to maintain unity within the church. The Vatican’s decision has sparked shock and dismay among conservatives, with some viewing it as an unjust act, while liberals suggest that it was a long overdue response to Cardinal Burke’s consistent opposition.
Whether Cardinal Burke stays in his Vatican apartment or not, it is clear that the outspoken cleric is unlikely to temper his criticisms. As the controversy unfolds, the Catholic community awaits official confirmation from the Vatican and reflects on the broader implications for the church’s direction under Pope Francis.
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