You can bet this is going to get a reaction from quite a few conservatives. Pope Francis has removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, popular with many conservatives for his outspoken stance against abortion and same-sex marriage, from a powerful position within the Vatican.
Cardinal Burke was taken off the Congregation for Bishops, which is the group most responsible for deciding who becomes a bishop in the future. He is being replaced by the far more moderate Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington. With this move, it’s a clear sign that Pope Francis wants a change in the ideological base with which the church chooses its Bishops.
This seems to be yet another step the Pope has taken to move the Catholic Church toward a more accepting platform of religious tolerance. It’s been clear from the get-go that Pope Francis had a goal to change the environment within the Vatican. An environment that had driven many away from the Catholic Church in recent years.
What might have done Cardinal Burke in was his recent comments where he questioned Pope Francis’ speaking about the church lessening its focus on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage:
“One gets the impression, or it’s interpreted this way in the media, that he thinks we’re talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman. But we can never talk enough about that.”
Well, you can’t get enough of that if you’re a right-wing American conservative who obsesses about such issues as a way to manipulate millions of people.
Burke had also argued in the past that Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied communion.
I think moves such as these are clear signs that Pope Francis is trying to break away from many of the outdated beliefs that the Catholic Church had been holding onto; instead embracing a more inclusive style of church that actually acts in a manner more reflective of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
You know, what Christians are supposed to do in the first place.
While the Catholic Church still has a long way to go — and I’m sure Pope Francis will face many obstacles along the way — I can honestly say I’ve never been more encouraged by what I’m seeing from a Pope. It’s inspiring to see such a powerful religious leader who just seems to “get it” when it comes to Christianity.
For far too long we’ve seen “Christian” leaders use their positions to push their own selfish benefits or agendas.
And even though I’m not Catholic, I salute Pope Francis for his efforts to finally change many of the outdated and hypocritical practices that have plagued the Catholic Church.
For the first time — ever — I’m actually excited to see what the Pope will do next.