VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis is reportedly working to evict Cardinal Raymond Burke from his apartment in Rome and remove his salary, according to Vatican sources cited in a new report.
Published in three languages on November 27, the New Daily Compass (NDC) reported that Pope Francis had announced 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 reported comments came as part of the Pope’s meeting with the heads of the Roman curia on November 20.
No specific details of the meeting were released by the Vatican about the event, which itself is a customary, albeit infrequent, occurrence.
The NDC reported that this information had come to them via a “Vatican source” and that it was later corroborated by other sources.
At time of publication, it appears that Cardinal Burke, the former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, has not been made aware of any reported plans by the Pope. LifeSiteNews inquired with His Eminence about the report, and will update this article upon receipt of a reply.
In late February, Pope Francis laid the groundwork for removing cardinals from Rome, ordering them to pay the standard, very expensive rates on their lodgings in and around the Vatican.
Citing the “growing commitments” of the Holy See to the “universal Church and the needy,” Francis called upon all those affected “to make an extraordinary sacrifice.” He thus revoked the free or reduced rate accommodation offered to the cardinals and upper-level curial officials named in the rescript. The change applied to individuals residing in any property owned by the curia or any entity governed by the Holy See’s statutes outlined in the Council for the Economy.
Pope Francis would be personally responsible for dispensing individuals from the effects of the rescript. That move was widely seen as an exercise of power, and a warning to any cardinals of being effectively made homeless should they earn the displeasure of the Pontiff.
Cardinal 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.
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’ 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 the actions of he and 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.”
Should the reports prove true, and Cardinal Burke is forcefully evicted by the Pontiff, it will send a direct 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.
Concluding the NDC’s report, editor-in-chief Riccardo Cascioli wrote:
And now here we come to the Pope’s announced decision to strike Cardinal Burke directly, taking away his flat and salary, a serious and unprecedented measure, in defiance of every legal and ecclesial principle. One may think that the real purpose is to remove Burke from Rome, weakening the camp of those who resist the revolution in progress, as a Conclave approaches, but it is also a warning to those who work in the Roman Curia. The fact is that the end of this pontificate increasingly resembles in its methods, a South American dictatorship.