Rorate Caeli

"Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I am taking away his flat and salary," Pope Francis Reportedly Tells Heads of Dicasteries


According to a well-sourced report in The New Daily Compass, Pope Francis told the Heads of Dicasteries as follows at their November 20, 2023 meeting: "Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I am taking away his flat and salary." 

This statement will come as no surprise to those who have closely followed Francis's pontificate. Cardinal Burke was reportedly one of the few who warned his fellow of Cardinals of Bergoglio at the conclave that elected him in 2013. Further, Cardinal Burke angers Francis because he is American and is a reminder of the doctrine and tradition of the Church.

If true, this would be part of an escalating pattern of retaliation against Cardinal Burke by Pope Francis. In December 2013, Francis removed Burke as a member of the Congregation of Bishops and replaced him with the now-disgraced Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a close ally of the sex predator Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. 

Cardinal Burke was removed from his post as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura by Francis in November 2014 and given the minor post of Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta.  After signing the Dubia seeking clarity regarding the Pope's intentions for Amoris Laetitia, Burke was effectively deprived of that post in 2017. He formally resigned as Patron this June, long after he had ceased to have any active role, and was immediately replaced. In the meantime, Pope Francis and his allies have continued to make cutting remarks and personal jibes at Cardinal Burke, with Francis jeering the Cardinal as a "denier" when he was seriously ill with Covid.

Although not confirmed, this rumor is eminently believable given Pope Francis's treatment of perceived enemies-- including, in the most extreme case, his war against the priests and laity who worship at the Traditional Latin Mass. It is also confirmed by Francis's hasty demotion of Benedict XVI's personal secretary Georg Gänswein, and his summary removal of the American Cardinal Joseph Strickland for his social media posts critical of Francis. 

Peronism- and the friend-enemy distinction on which it is based- is a most appalling and un-Catholic doctrine, especially when used against other Catholics. Yet it is the guiding theme of this pontificate. Let us pray for our bishops and Cardinals who are subject to Francis, and the many priest and laypeople has hurt and will hurt in the future.

UPDATE: the Associated Press is now confirming that Cardinal Burke is indeed being stripped of his apartment and salary by Pope Francis, in an action reminiscent of a petty tyrant.