Pope Sacks Conservative Cardinal
Credit: Flickr
December 17, 2013

On Monday, Pope Francis continued to rock the boat in the Catholic Church by removing an outspoken American cardinal who was a staunch critic of abortion and same-sex marriage, and appointed another American in his place. The removal of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation for Bishops is being seen as a move that means Francis is willing to go beyond just a change in rhetoric to make the church more inclusive. “He is saying that you don’t need to be a conservative to become a bishop,” one expert told The New York Times. Burke recently gave an interview in which he aired his disagreements over the reduced focus on abortion and same-sex marriage, saying, “We can never talk enough about that.”

NBC News:

"Four years ago, the former archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, was caught on tape saying that the head of the Washington archdiocese, Donald Wuerl, and other moderates were "weakening the faith" by refusing to ban pro-choice politicians from receiving communion.

Burke had to apologize for the remark, but it didn't diminish his profile in Rome under former Pope Benedict, who had appointed him head of the Vatican's equivalent of the supreme court and given him a coveted spot in the influential Congregation of Bishops.

Now, there's a new pontiff in town.

Pope Francis this week shook up the bishops panel, replacing the conservative Burke, now a cardinal, with none other than the moderate Wuerl, also a cardinal, in a move that could have a far-reaching effect on church leadership."

"Obviously, Pope Francis is putting people on there that have a vision like his own. I think it's very pastoral," said the Rev. Rick Potts, pastor at St. Alphonsus "Rock" church.

"He desires to be more merciful, more compassionate and more pastoral. He's picking bishops who share that vision and desire."

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