‘He’s Tearing the Church Apart’: Outrage After Pope Punishes Cardinal for Dissent Over New Woke Doctrines

Cardinal Raymond Burke is the second Catholic official in a month to be disciplined by the Pope for criticizing him for embracing gay and transgender ideology.
‘He’s Tearing the Church Apart’: Outrage After Pope Punishes Cardinal for Dissent Over New Woke Doctrines
Pope Francis speaks during the weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on April 5, 2023. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images)
Alice Giordano

Catholic organizations around the world are reacting with outrage to reports that Pope Francis has stripped an American cardinal of his housing and salary for questioning his support of transexuals serving as godparents and other related ideologies.

On Nov. 27, The Italian Catholic news blog La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana reported that Pope Francis called Cardinal Raymond Burke, a native of Wisconsin, a “source of disunity” in the Church.

“Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I will take away his apartment and his salary,” La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana reported, quoting an anonymous source in the Vatican.

Other major Catholic outlets, including the Catholic News Agency, EWTN, and The Pilot, the United States’ oldest Catholic newspaper, are also reporting or commenting on the story.

Michael Hichborn, founder of the conservative Catholic organization the LaPanto Institute, told The Epoch Times that the pope’s actions are unprecedented and reprehensible.

“He’s tearing the church apart,” he said. “What he’s doing is he’s scandalizing the faithful.”

C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts and a historian on Catholicism, told The Epoch Times that he thinks the pope is out out of line with traditional Catholic doctrines, that it’s time for him to resign.

“The hypocrisy of this pontificate is astonishing,” he said. “The pope speaks of ’mercy‘ and ’accompaniment,' but removes or punishes anyone who disagrees with his novel and heterodox initiatives.”

Cardinal Burke is the second Catholic official in a month to be disciplined by the pope for questioning promoted viewpoints that don’t align with the traditional tenets of the Catholic Church.

Earlier this month, the Holy See fired Bishop Joseph Strickland of Texas after he refused to resign voluntarily. The reason for terminating the bishop from his pastoral position was disclosed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

A transcript from a private meeting on Aug. 5 published in the Jesuit journal and Vatican-endorsed La Civilta Cattolica revealed that Pope Francis expressed anger and frustration over what he called the “backward” thinking of conservatives in the church.
Notice of Bishop Strickland’s removal came to light when it was briefly mentioned in the Nov. 11 “Summary of Bulletin” issued by the Holy See Press Office, which didn’t give a reason for it.

Among his dissensions from the pope’s preaching, Bishop Strickland has questioned the safety of vaccines and the papacy’s increasing support of gay civil unions. The pope also objected to his conducting Masses in Latin, a very old tradition of the church.

In September, Bishop Strickland expressed his support on X, formerly known as Twitter, of a video made by a Catholic priest in which he declared that “you cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat.” The video went viral.

Cardinal Burke, who, like Bishop Strickland, has been an outspoken critic of the pontiff’s progressive view, was among the five cardinals who sent a dissension, called a dubia in the Catholic Church, to Pope Francis asking him to clarify his call for blessings of same-sex unions.

The dubia, according to Catholic News Agency, became public when it was discussed at an Oct. 2 press conference at the Vatican during which Cardinal Burke expressed his concerns about the pope’s behavior.

It was based largely on the papacy’s response to questions posed by Jose Negri, bishop of Santo Amaro, Brazil, about the recognition of transgender-identifying and homosexual people in the sacraments of baptism and marriage.

The Brazilian Catholic bishop asked whether a transgender-identifying person can be a godparent at a baptism or be a witness at a Catholic marriage. The pope answered yes to both.

“Under certain conditions, a transsexual may be admitted to the role of godfather or godmother, even if he has undergone hormonal treatment and surgical intervention for sex reassignment,” the pope answered.

Mr. Hichborn said he believes the pope is deliberately ridding the church of conservative officials.

“It is an absolutely obvious lie to say that a man is a woman. So if they can use a lie to break the will of the people within the church, they can use it break the will of society,” he said.

Mr. Hichborn said he is especially concerned about the message the pope is sending to children at a time when “woke” ideology is being used to eliminate traditional parenting roles.

“The pope is giving [children] the moral legs to stand on to say that their parents are wrong,” Mr. Hichborn said. “He’s creating a huge divide in the family.”

He and Mr. Doyle also emphasized that the pope is acting against canon law by determining someone’s guilt and punishment without following any process.

“In the end, given the unlawfulness and illegitimacy of their actions, all revolutionaries must resort to coercion,” Mr. Doyle said. “There is now no doubt that Francis seeks to impose a revolution upon the church, particularly in his attempt to separate the moral teachings of the church from Divine Revelation and natural law.”

Alice Giordano is a freelance reporter for The Epoch Times. She is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and the New England bureau of The New York Times.
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