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Austen Ivereigh meeting Pope Francis, October 2, 2022.Screenshot/Twitter

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis’ favored biographer, Austen Ivereigh, has stated the Pope personally confirmed the reports that he intends to strip Raymond Cardinal Burke of his flat and salary, though denied calling the cardinal his “enemy.”

In a report published November 29 on the heterodox site Where Peter Is, Ivereigh wrote that he had met with the Argentine pontiff on Monday, who confirmed the veracity of reports stating that Francis intended to strip Cardinal Burke of his Rome apartment and his salary.

READ: Pope Francis set to remove his ‘enemy’ Cardinal Burke’s ‘flat and salary’: report

Ivereigh wrote:

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 (Monday) it had been leaked.

Ivereigh stated that this meeting took place on Monday afternoon. It was on Monday morning that the New Daily Compass (La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana) published their report, stating that Pope Francis had, during a November 20 meeting with heads of the Roman Curia, revealed his intention to evict the prominent American cardinal from his lodgings in Rome. 

“Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I am taking away his flat and salary,” the Pope was reported as saying, according to NDC’s Vatican source. The NDC reported that this information had come to them via a “Vatican source” and that it was later corroborated by other sources. 

This was subsequently supported by a number of outlets, who corroborated this information via their own sources after the NDC broke the story. Reuters then reported late in the evening of November 28 that an official at the November 20 meeting said Francis described Burke as “working against the Church and against the papacy” and sowing “disunity.”

With Ivereigh’s testimony, it appears that the Pope himself has confirmed the reports about his comments, albeit Francis argued that he did not describe Burke as an “enemy.” According to Ivereigh, Pope Francis sent him a message on November 28 saying: “I never used the word ‘enemy’ nor the pronoun ‘my.’ I simply announced the fact at the meeting of the dicastery heads, without giving specific explanations.”

READ: Pope’s biographer: Upcoming synod will transform Church in line with ‘St. Gallen mafia’ goals

At the time of the initial report by the NDC, Burke had not received any official notice of the Pope’s intended actions, nor had he received any word by late last night.

The former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Burke has emerged as a key figure for many during the nearly 11 years of Pope Francis’ papacy. He has, particularly notably, signed both the initial dubia on Amoris Laetitia released in 2016, and then the 2023 dubia on issues pertaining to the Synod on Synodality. 

Mainstream media and heterodox Catholic outlets have consistently vilified the American cardinal, due to his pronouncement of Catholic teaching which is often placed in juxtaposition with the statements of Pope Francis. 

Most recently, Cardinal Burke has continued his prior criticism of the Pope’s multiyear project, the Synod on Synodality, penning a foreword to a book which highlighted dangers in the synod. 

READ: Cardinal Burke warns Synod is part of ‘revolution’ to ‘radically’ change the Catholic Church

Cardinal Burke referred to “synodality” as a front for a “revolution” which is working to “radically” alter the Catholic Church in line with a “contemporary ideology” which rejects much of Church teaching.

In November 2014, Pope Francis removed the cardinal from his position as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, in a move widely seen as a punishment for his criticism of elements of Francis’ pontificate.

However, Cardinal Burke has consistently called on Catholics to pray for Pope Francis and equally consistently affirmed that he holds Pope Francis to be the pope, in the wake of arguments suggesting that Francis’s election might have been invalid.

He has also repeatedly rejected the claim that he is working against the Pope, or is an “enemy” of Francis, stating that his own interventions are to defend the perennial Catholic teaching rather than to oppose the Pope.  

Speaking on the eve of the October Synod session, and just hours after the Synod dubia text was publicly released, Cardinal Burke described his actions and those of his fellow signatories: “First of all, we must publicly reaffirm our faith. In this, Bishops have a duty to confirm their brothers.”

He noted that the dubia, posited widely by media reports as an attack on the Pope, “do not deal with the person of the Holy Father. In fact, by their nature they are an expression of due veneration for the Petrine Office and the Successor of St. Peter.”

READ: Cardinal Burke responds to dubia criticism, warns Synod aims to change Church’s structure

In contrast to Burke’s prominence for defending Catholic teaching, Ivereigh is a controversial figure for his opposing views. He has found favor with Pope Francis through his biographies of the pope, the second entitled: “Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church.” 

He most recently took part in the Synod on Synodality as an expert, as in that role will play a key duty in drafting the final report from the multi-year synod in October 2024, although he does not hold voting rights.

Ivereigh was a senior advisor to Westminster’s Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor – a prelate who was a leading member of the notorious St. Gallen Mafia and who played a key role in electing Pope Francis. Ivereigh, who remains unmarried, resigned his post with the cardinal in 2006 after admitting to two relationships: one in 1989 which resulted in abortion and another more recent affair which resulted in the mother having a miscarriage. 

Austen Ivereigh with Fr. James Martin SJ during the 2023 Synod

Speaking to LifeSiteNews in August 2022, about Ivereigh’s inclusion among the Synod on Synodality “experts,” U.K. catechist Deacon Nick Donnelly told LifeSiteNews that it “is alarming.” 

“Ivereigh is a professional Catholic who has been aligned with those promoting dissent throughout his career,” said Donnelly. “He was the press secretary of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, a leading member of the Saint Gallen Mafia that clandestinely opposed the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.” 

Donnelly highlighted that Ivereigh, “as one of the founders of the U.K. media group Catholic Voices, supported civil unions for homosexual persons, contrary to the CDF directive of 2003.”

Since Pope Francis’ accession, he has been outspoken in his attacks against faithful Catholics who oppose the pontificate’s neo-modernism. In January, Ivereigh penned an article justifying Pope Francis’ merciless treatment of traditional Catholics, who he characterised as so wickedly corrupt as to be undeserving of the condescension of Bergoglio’s dialogue.

“Ivereigh’s involvement in the synodal process confirms suspicions that this consultation is a sham with a predetermined outcome to illegitimately change the doctrine and discipline of the Church,” added Donnelly.

Should Pope Francis follow through with his threat on evicting Cardinal Burke, it will send a striking message to the entire college of cardinals and the world’s episcopate about the lengths to which the Pope will go against anyone deemed to not be in line with his wishes. The report also comes weeks after the personal removal of Tyler’s Bishop Joseph Strickland by the Pope, in a move which has been described as going against canon law and being due to the fact that Bishop Strickland’s teaching the faith was not approved of by Rome.

Such a potential move against Burke prompted NDC’s editor-in-chief to describe Francis’ pontificate as increasingly resembling “a South American dictatorship.”