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Burke confirms transfer from Apostolic Signatura

By Sarah Mac Donald - 21 October, 2014

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

US prelate Cardinal Raymond Burke has confirmed reports that he will soon be transferred from his position as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura which he has held since 2008.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Cardinal Burke said he will be appointed patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

However, he admitted that though he had been told he was to be transferred, he had not yet received an official transfer.

“Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that I’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen,” he told BuzzFeed.

Asked if he was disappointed by the decision, he replied, “… the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it.”

“On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given.”

“And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…”

Speaking to Catholic World News, Cardinal Burke criticised the Synod of Bishops’ interim report as well as controversial remarks made by Cardinal Walter Kasper about African bishops and homosexuality.

The Cardinal described the interim report “a gravely flawed document and does not express adequately the teaching and discipline of the Church and, in some aspects, propagates doctrinal error and a false pastoral approach”.

In relation to Cardinal Kasper he added, “It is profoundly sad and scandalous that such remarks were made by a cardinal of the Church. They are a further indication of the determination to manipulate the process of the Synod to advance Cardinal Kasper’s false positions, even by means of racist remarks about a significant and highly respected part of the Synod membership.”

Separately, a spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland criticised Cardinal Burke, accusing him of having a “lopsided moral perspective” in his rigid views on sexuality while ignoring climate change.

According to Fr McDonagh the “onus is on the Irish Church to begin a real discussion” of the issues such as homosexuality, contraception and communion for the divorced and remarried.

“We need a really good structured engagement by the church here,” he said as he praised Pope Francis for having brought about such an open process of consultation through the Synod.

According to Fr Sean McDonagh, a survey carried out on behalf of the ACP in 2012 showed that the position of the majority of Catholics in Ireland would be in line with the synod’s interim document.

The Amarach survey found that 75% of Irish Catholics believe that the Church’s teaching on sexuality is not relevant either to themselves or to their families. Three out of five Catholics disagreed with the teaching that any sexual expression of love between gay couples is immoral and 87% believe that people who are divorced or separated and in a steady second relationship should be allowed to receive communion.

“I hope that this process of consultation and discussion which Pope Francis has brought about will open things up,” Fr McDonagh said.

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