Saturday 2 December 2023

Pope Quietly Confirms Through A Blog He Intends To Rescind U.S. Cardinal’s Vatican Privileges

 Pope Francis quietly confirmed through a blog that he intends to rescind Vatican privileges for U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who says he remains uninformed about his status as rumors circulate about his status with the church.

Numerous outlets citing anonymous sources reported earlier this week that Pope Francis intended to react against his “enemy,” the conservative Cardinal Burke. Under prior pontificates, when a rumor about the pope was circulated, the Holy See Press Office has been quick to address inquiries and clarify by official statements. In this case, however, the only on the record comment came by way of a blog, not the Vatican Press Officer.

A statement by Pope Francis was cited in a narrative post and published on November 29 by papal biographer Austen Ivereigh. In his post, Ivereigh writes, “I met with Pope Francis on the afternoon of November 27th…In the course of our conversation, Francis told me he had decided to remove Cardinal Burke’s cardinal privileges—his apartment and salary—because he had been using those privileges against the Church. He told me that while the decision wasn’t a secret, he didn’t intend a public announcement but earlier that day it had been leaked.”

Ivereigh concludes his post with a quote from Pope Francis that works to discred initial reporting. “I never used the word ‘enemy’ nor the pronoun ‘my,'” the pope said, according to Ivereigh. “I simply announced the fact at the meeting of the dicastery heads, without going into specific explanations.”

The statement comes after numerous outlets cited anonymous sources, with differing claims to statements and actions attributed to the Pope against the popular conservative U.S. cardinal.

News broke on November 27, originating with Italian journalist Riccardo Cascioli, that Pope Francis intended to react against his “enemy.” Cascioli, the editor of “La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana,” was also responsible for a recent conference on the eve of the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality that featured Burke as a speaker.

Burke at the conference condemned certain perceived ideological manipulations ahead of the Vatican meeting.

“The will is to profoundly change the hierarchical constitution of the Church is clear, with a further consequence a weakening of teaching on morality as well as discipline in the Church,” Burke said.

Burke also was instrumental in coauthoring two sets of critical questions issued to Pope Francis during his pontificate.

The crux of Cascioli’s November 27 revelations was based on an anonymous source, echoed — he claimed — by other unnamed sources in the Vatican. The source alleged that during a November 20th meeting with the heads of all the state offices of the Vatican, Pope Francis was overheard stating that he considered Cardinal Burke “his enemy,” and that he intended take action against him by evicting him from his Vatican residence and removing his monthly stipend.

The report, published online with commentary and shared by a number of activists, prompted a mix of emotional responses on social media—from doubt of authenticity to immediate condemnation and reactions of anger against the Pope and in defense of Burke. No statement was sought by Cascioli, however, from either Cardinal Burke or the Holy See to confirm these revelations — prompting journalists to reach out to both for comment.

On November 28th, AP’s Nicole Winfield reported that two anonymous sources — one of which claimed to have been present at the meeting — confirmed to her that Pope Francis had decided to “punish” Burke, because the Cardinal had become a source of “disunity” in the Church.

Cardinal Burke was contacted, with Winfield reporting he had not been notified of any actions against him by the time of printing — and Press Officer for the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, stated he had “nothing particular to say about” the rumors.

On that same day, Italian journalist Massimo Franco claimed that an anonymous source — this one high ranking who attended the meeting — told him the pope intended “some measures of an economic nature, accompanied by canonical penalties.”

The New York Times followed up, citing these reports from unverified sources and failing to obtain comments from either Burke or the Vatican.

On November 29, after the on record statement by the Pope to Austen Ivereigh was published, yet another unnamed source was cited by Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service, stating that the Pope was “not planning to evict Cardinal Burke from his Vatican-owned apartment, but that he did plan to ask the cardinal to start paying rent.” This report seems to have some precedence in fact, however, as back in March of this year Pope Francis announced changes in economic measures to alleviate the growing financial crisis facing the Vatican—including reductions of senior official’s pensions and charging Cardinals rent.

The Daily Wire investigated all claims made by the cited reports, with no factual conclusion other than what was said by Pope Francis, on record to Ivereigh. As of the Daily Wire’s report,
Cardinal Raymond Burke has not confirmed any official notification — let alone action — of reported measures against him, and the Holy See Press Office has failed to respond to inquiries.

In the lingering whispers of the Vatican rumor mill, the fate of Cardinal Burke hangs in precarious uncertainty, with eviction and loss of income on the table.

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