Cardinal Burke out at Congregation for Bishops, +Wuerl in, oh boy....

.... I think we all knew this was a real possibility, even probability after this election.

Well no doubt now, +Wuerl is the new "kingmaker."  

Be grateful if you got a "Burke bishop" because they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.  I feel sorry for Chicago.  When +George is gone, there's absolutely no way it will be Bishop Perry. 

Possibly if +Burke did receive conclave votes, there would be a major concern over his influence, and God forbid election, in future conclaves as well.

via Deacons Bench

Quoting David Gibson
After last month’s annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wrote a story handicapping the four American churchman who enjoyed growing influence in the new(ish) pontificate of Pope Francis.
They were Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is one of the eight members of Francis “kitchen cabinet” of advisors on reforming the Roman Curia; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who was elected vice-president of the USCCB and is the likely incoming president in three years; Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, whose advice the Vatican has tapped and who was rumored for an important curial post; and Cardinal Raymond Burke, head the Vatican’s canonical court system and more importantly a member of the Congregation for Bishops. That latter role gave Burke a decisive voice in pushing through a number of key stateside appointments, sometimes against the wishes of U.S.-based bishops.
Burke was something of an outlier on that list — a very conservative holdover from the Benedict XVI era and a fan of the kind of high liturgical finery that Pope Francis does not take to, at all.
Today the calculus of the “Top Four” list changed, perhaps decisively, as Francis dropped Burke from the Congregation for Bishops and added Wuerl. The two cardinals are not known to be allies, to say the least. It’s even less likely now that they’ll be exchanging Christmas cards this year.
Wuerl will remain as Archbishop of Washington but the new appointment means he will make regular trips to the Vatican to vet candidates for bishop in the U.S. and around the world — perhaps the most important way that Francis can secure his legacy.
This is terrible news for the US Catholic Church

Will +Burke be ousted as the Apostolic Signatura?  In my opinion, yes. The now will be the opportune time with the reforms going on. 

If we are to believe reports, +Wuerl .... um, does not like ....  +Burke.  Rocco reposted his old article on the topic.   Also Francis' Flush – At Bishops' Table, Pope Runs the Wuerlpool   Note, Palmo doesn't like Cdl. Burke either. 

Rorate reporting:
You can read the official announcement from VIS here that, while it shows Wuerl being added, does not mention Burke rolling off.  
I'm sure Adfero knows better than I, but the list appears to be a list of appointments assuming that the congregation started with zero appointees.

Thomas Peters: Reality check: Burke’s star will shine on
There is absolutely no sign the Congregation for Bishops is about to reverse the 70 or 80 streak of conservative Episcopal appointments to U.S. dioceses we witnessed under the reign of Pope Benedict. This massive swell of young conservative bishops is already having a huge impact on the Catholic Church in America.

It was these bishops who upset precedent and elected Cardinal Dolan over Bishop Kicanas for USCCB President, and just elected Archbishop Kurtz.

If we want to see anything significant in today’s news, it should be that Pope Francis confirmed Cardinal Marc Oullet as the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops! A more conservative Cardinal you couldn’t ask for.

If liberal Vatican-watchers want to read tea leaves, they should wake up and smell what’s brewing!

And as for this false meme that Pope Francis doesn’t like conservatives, well, the pope’s interview with La Stampa just poured more cold water on that than I could ever hope to.

So let nothing you dismay. Cardinal Burke’s star will shine on in the Eternal City for another 10 years at least. American liberal Catholics should go take a cold bath. Orthodoxy is here to stay.
I think a bit too optimistic.  This is the most influential congregation for shaping the future of the Church.  This move limits +Burke's influence in the the Church in the United States - and was a consequence of his appointments which ruffled many prelates feathers stateside.  It also shows how much influence +Wuerl really has, something that surprised me.  I don't think there's any reason to spin this, or to Read Francis Though Benedict.  The message is pretty clear, and tradition minded Catholic need not sugar coat it.

Update2: This isn't just about +Burke
Francis also dropped from the Congregation two other cardinals, both Italians, considered allies of Benedict XVI — Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, 69, described by one Vatican-watcher as “one of the former pope’s most conservative appointments in the Roman Curia,” and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 70.
Update3: Remember this??

Italy's media dub Wuerl 'pope-maker' of conclave

La Repubblica, Italy's largest-circulation daily newspaper, reported on Friday that Wuerl led a coalition of American cardinals and those from other countries in supporting the candidacy of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina.
Bergoglio was elected the 266th pope of the worldwide church on Wednesday and took the name of Francis.
The center-left newspaper and two Italian websites said American cardinals, “under the leadership” of Wuerl, considered Bergoglio “the right man to ‘purify and reform' the church and the Roman Curia.”
Update4: Heterodox Michael Sean Winters on the move
Those of us who were disappointed by the appointments in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, and Denver and, most recently, Hartford, could discern the influence of Cardinal Burke – and behind him Cardinals Harvey and Law – in those appointments.   
Update5:  From last week: Preliminary Result of Papal Reconstruction of the Curia -- Nine Members of the Congregation for Education Dismissed
Campaign against Cardinal Burke: "Too Conservative and Traditionalist"

The Congregation for Education after Pope Francis is therefore less Italian (minus three) and less European (minus four), but more Latin (Plus two) and Asian (plus three).

How it proceeds to the other Departments, is likely to show in the coming months. Meanwhile, the progressive National Catholic Reporter has launched a campaign with the Pope Francis, for the dismissal of the American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the reason being because he is "too conservative and traditionalist".  So far, Pope Francis has proved very resistant to campaigns. The final decision on the confirmation or removal from office of the Bishop of Limburg Tebartz van Elst will give a final answer.


  1. Wuerl and Burke are at the two opposing ends of the “completely orthodox” spectrum. Lacking better words, Burke is the most “conservative” of the orthodox US Cardinals, and Wuerl the most “liberal” of the orthodox US Cardinals. Directly replacing Burke with Wuerl sends a strong message to the US Bishops on how they should deal with the communion issue, as well as the liturgy, among other things.

  2. Is this terrible news for the US church? Shouldn't we be concerned about the global church? I used to interact with Cardinal Burke personally with reasonable frequency and think that he's a wonderful man. I also think that the Pope and his advisers are more informed than us in regard to the complexities of governing the global church. Perhaps Wuerl offers something that Cardinal Burke does not, or perhaps Cardinal Burke has a role to fill that is different than his current job description. I think this doomsday-rhetoric of being grateful for a "Burke Bishop" is unhelpful. Grace can manifest in unexpected ways.

  3. I think you can safely say that any improvement to the American Church will be put on the back burner for the duration of Pope Francis's papacy. Too bad because much of the improvement is made at the diocesan level.

  4. I agree Wuerl can offer things that Burke might not be able to. The good Cardinal has many solid qualities just like the late great Neville Chamberlain... but im reactionary

  5. People who say it means nothing don't know how the selection of bishops in the U.S. works. If Cardinal Burke had not been in the Conference of Bishops, Chaput wouldn't have gone to Philadelphia and Cordileone wouldn't have gone to San Francisco. Because of Burke's influence, orthodox bishops were assigned to seats in the U.S. Wurel will not make similar choices. As you know, the conference of bishops basically has the final say in the recommendations that go to the Pope.

  6. @ Anonymous 2: And maybe Burke's influence was appropriate then, but now a different approach is desired. Chaput and Cordileone are controversial bishops, and it's not just "liberals" who are at times uncertain about their approach to divisive issues of polity and morality.

    1. Controversial? Our Lord was (and still is!) "controversial". We need real men, orthodox men as bishops. Not what the poor people in Albany and Rochester once got, mentioning just a few. Sad news indeed, so prayer is more urgently needed that Wuerl will do the right thing.

  7. TAq: What type of different approach do you think is desired with the change in appointments to the Congregation of Bishops?

    1. No idea; but I trust those with the experience and authority to make these decisions.

    2. I want to trust those in the Church hierarchy, but I cannot be blind to the fact that we have in the past had bad popes. The Church survives, as even the gates of hell cannot prevail against her, but that doesn't mean it's always pleasant. I don't think it's wrong to be worried or to say a few extra rosaries for our Church leaders.

  8. Mr. Peters' post at least answered my question about whether the so-called conservatives might finally wake up. The answer is no. Perhaps traditionally-minded Catholics were the crazy uncle of a family, but at least we were in the family. Now, we are on notice that we are not wanted, even as holiday window dressing.

  9. As long as Cardinal Marc Oullet is still there I have some confidence.

    As for Burke, maybe they will "exile" him to Chicago! (If only!)

    1. Please no! He's better in written form; he is not an elocutionist!

  10. From Winters' article, "Cardinal Rigali’s problem is of a different sort. He has ruined everything he ever touched, as one archbishop reportedly said to a friend of mine."

    Pope Francis: "“If, by the grace of the Holy Spirit we succeed in never gossiping, it will be a great step forward it will do us all good."

  11. Pope Francis accomplished a great thing and sensured Cardinal Burke removing him from the Counsel of Bishops. Appointments are over.. Hope he sends him on a one way tour to St. Stanislous Church in St. Louis MO with a task of reinstating that parish as a roman catholic church. Remove the sensure and ecommunication of the complete parish of parishioners. His only interest is his advancement and how to get there..

  12. Ha, you want to talk about advancement!?! Cardinal Wuerl is the biggest politics and suck up I've ever came across. Please someone tell me what diocese had two voting cardinals for almost two year? I can wait. You can ask any priest in the Washington Archdiocese and they will tell you the same thing. I've met him on more than one small private occasion also. He is too afraid to deal with anyone and let's Washington with Georgetown and all the democrat Catholics fall into shambles; he does nothing, one hell of a Bishop. I'll tell you something right now, Monsignor Rossi the rector of the Basilica in DC (who drives a lexus) will be named one of the first bishops, just wait and see. He's cut from the same cloth as Wuerl.

  13. the liberals have won the battle, but they will lose the war...this is a smack against the Emeritus. I thought Pope Francis was elected to un-do Pope Benedict XVI's reign, nothing that has happened in these months has proved I'm off to be a self absorbed promethean neo pelegian, and an idealogue of the Logos

  14. How many "conservative" bishop and cardinals continued to receive communion while shuffling known pedophile priests from one parish to another . How many lawyers , judges , and politicians are being prevented from receiving communion while never attempting to pass laws against adultery. I guess adultery is less offensive than being gay

  15. Clarification: meaning of 'the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church' is that the church (catholic people) can charge over Satan and other devils to rescue sinners.

    Recall the term 'the church militant'?

    The gates of Hell is Satan keeping people in the bondage of sin by using his sneaky wiles and tempting them. Catholics have a job to do to rescue sinners by educating sinners, reminding them of Jesus' commands, encouraging sinners to reject sin and turn to Jesus and accept His teachings. Think of all the stories over the years of persistent Catholics who eventually convinced people to renounce sins and embrace Jesus' teachings. That's what is meant by 'the gates of Hell not prevailing'.

    I for one need to stand ready for opportunities to evangelize.


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