Pope Francis demotes U.S. cardinal who denied Communion to pro-choice politicians

An American Cardinal who spearheaded efforts to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion, was removed by Pope Francis from a top Vatican post on Saturday.

While he was archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri from 2003-2008, Cardinal Raymond Burke headed a campaign to refuse Communion to Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion. He has also openly challenged some of the current Pope’s radical changes within the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis’ first bush-up with Burke began when he took him off the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for Bishops, which was responsible for the appointments of bishops worldwide.

Raymond Leo Burke

From the AP:

On Saturday [Pope Francis] transferred Burke from the Vatican court job to the largely ceremonial post of Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a charity whose activities include hospitals and residences for the elderly around the world.

Burke, at 66, would have still had a good decade to continue serving in high-profile Vatican posts.

His strident discourse and preference of fancy, old-fashioned vestments contrast starkly with the informal, chatty tone and simple, almost Spartan style Francis has established for his papacy.

Last month, Burke marshaled conservative criticism against the possibility the Vatican may loosen up rules that ban Communion for divorced, remarried Catholics.

Francis has encouraged the church to take its focus away from homosexuality and abortion and focus on being more inclusive.

Burke has been quoted as saying that “we can never talk enough” against abortion and same-sex marriage and has also condemned Francis’ criticisms of capitalism.

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