The Progressive Pope? Francis Demotes Conservative Cardinal

pope francis throneJust last month, Pope Francis determined that now was the time to shake things up in the Vatican.

ICYMI: He claimed that all the “in the beginning” malarkey about how God created the world made the Creator sound more like Harry Potter and less like an omnipotent being. At that time, we knew people would start crying “progressivism!” and murmuring about a dark influence on the Holy See.

While the latter is still brooding, the Pontiff has made another bold decision that could empower his critics: he demoted an “outspoken, American conservative” Cardinal.

When it comes to the old folks in leadership of almost anything, change is never welcomed. In fact, it’s frowned upon. That may be even more true for the Catholic Church than the public relations discipline.

Raymond Leo BurkeCardinal Raymond Burke, 66, and the highest ranking American member of the Holy Synod, is one of those such curmudgeons. He hasn’t been one of the biggest fans of the Pope’s reformist actions.

And for that, he was removed as head of the Vatican’s highest court and appointed to the ceremonial post of chaplain of the charity group Knights of Malta. That’s like the CEO of a company being demoted to account executive by the chairman of the board.

In an interview with a Spanish magazine last month, Burke, known for his unbending interpretation of doctrine, compared the Catholic Church under Francis to “a ship without a rudder”.

Burke has publicly clashed with the pope several times since the Argentine pontiff’s election in 2013 and Vatican sources have said the pope saw Burke’s outspokenness as part of the so-called “culture wars” among Catholics that he wants to avoid.

Ironically, Burke said last month he would be disappointed to leave his post at the top Vatican court, which oversees the administration of justice in the Church and hears appeals from lower Church tribunals…but that he would obey the pope’s orders.

Welcome to change…call it the “Evolution” of the Catholic Church, if you will.