Tweet-whispered a few hours ago, Sandro Magister reports Cardinal Burke’s career arc is about to descend to a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean. More specifically, to a “patronage” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
If confirmed, Burke’s exile would be even more drastic than the one inflicted on Cardinal Piacenza, who, transferred from the important congregation for the clergy to the marginal apostolic penitentiary, nevertheless remained in the leadership of a curial dicastery.
With the shakeup on the way, Burke would instead be completely removed from the curia and employed in a purely honorary position without any influence on the governance of the universal Church.
This would be a move that seems to have no precedent.
It might free the former US bishop for more airport time.
Why not a movement back to an American see? A translation of Cardinal Burke back to any of the “red hat” see in the United States, much less one as influential and prestigious as Chicago, would simply not be welcome to many liberal and “moderate” bishops in that country, not least those Cardinals such as Wuerl, O’Malley and Dolan who have found themselves on the opposite side of Burke’s strident promotion of Canon 915.
Or perhaps Rome wasn’t so interested in repeats of schism, which happens when a person in charge takes canon law to its fullest extent–as a weapon to wield. Welcome to other bishops? Let’s talk about Chicagoland parishes. That’s a lot of churches to close down in the 2020’s.
Wait–liberal and moderate bishops? Really? Really!? Where the heck did they come from?
Burke likes the bling. As a Grand Knight, or whatever he is, he can add new bling, ermine and other luxuries to his wardrobe. The pope just wants him to be happy.
One clerical insider who comments periodically at Fr Z’s has indicated his gossip sources place the current head of the US Military Archdiocese, Abp Timothy Broglio, as leading the contenders to succeed Cardinal George in Chicago. Make of that what you will.
Adapting/cross-posting a comment I made at NCR:
Personally, I think Pope Francis deliberately kept Cdl Burke on for over a year and a half precisely to establish that Curial red hats can openly disagree with the Pope without the heavens falling. That is, I think Cdl Burke triggered a trap set by Pope Francis for different purposes. I don’t think Pope Francis is punishing him per se, only that he may feel what he needed from Cdl Burke is completed and he needs a different canonical style for the next phase of his pontificate.
Just be aware that Pope Francis’s style has a certain important substance: it may way be quite specifically designed to subvert the creeping magisterialism of recent decades by dilution and dissonance.
PS: Along these lines, I think the Pope may quite welcome, quietly, the sight of Catholics more openly disagreeing with the Pope. As a needed corrective to excessive ultramontanism. If this speculation is correct, progressive Catholics may need to pause to consider ends vs means like cart vs horse; that before we can really have discernment about goals/ends, we need to rebalance the process and content in which the Church engages in discernment.