Wisconsin-born Cardinal Burke loses key position - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin-born Cardinal Burke loses key position

NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) - Pope Francis appears to be shaking things up in the Catholic Church, and a Wisconsin-born cardinal is losing an influential position because of it.

Cardinal Raymond Burke is out from the Congregation for Bishops. Pope Francis did not reconfirm him.

Burke is known for his ultra-conservative views. Religion experts say that may have caused this latest move, a sign the pope wants to move the church in another direction.

"Every pope does this," said UWSP Assistant Professor of Religion Shanny Luft.

Luft compares the change to a new president appointing a cabinet.

"You assign people around you who will both reflect your administrations positions and will also help you lead and put people in place who also reflect and support the kinds of values and the kind of emphasis that you have," said Luft.

Cardinal Burke is popular with many conservative Catholics. They say he upholds traditions favored by Pope Benedict.

"Having him lose this position has caused a lot of conservatives to worry that Pope Francis is not going to maintain the same level of emphasis on issues like abortion, women's ordination, gay marriage," Luft told Newsline 9.

Burke was born in Stratford. He served as a bishop in La Crosse from 1994 until 2003 and went to the Vatican in 2008.

"Cardinal Burke still has an enormous amount of power. He holds other positions within the Vatican," said Luft.

Pope Francis was recently named Time magazine's "Person of the Year." He's already made quite a name for himself during his short time in the Vatican.

Religious experts say the decision not to reconfirm Cardinal Burke may just be part of a long-term plan.

"He wants the church to be seen as more humble, more open, a community that attracts and is interested in a more broader, to speak to some of the more broader issues that are affecting society today," said Luft.

Newsline 9 reached out to the officials at the Diocese in La Crosse. They say although Burke's work in the Vatican did not directly impact them, they're grateful for his work during the past few years.

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