New role for demoted anti-gay Cardinal has ‘no responsibilities’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The new role given to a demoted anti-gay Catholic Cardinal has almost no responsibilities.

US Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former Archbishop of St Louis, is known as one of the most extreme anti-gay figures in the Catholic church – just last month calling for parents to keep their children away from gay relatives.

He was removed from the Vatican Committee last year in favour of the less outspoken Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, but continued to head the influential Apostolic Signatura within the church – effectively second in command on doctrine.

However, after ongoing rumours that he was to be removed from power, he was yesterday stripped of his influential role, and instead made a Patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

The National Catholic Reporter says of the new role: “The position of Patron of the the Order of Malta is usually given to a retired cardinal, or as a second task to an active cardinal. It has almost no responsibilities.”

The move is seen as a significant slight to Cardinal Burke from Pope Francis, with whom he clashed over reform issues.

French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, meanwhile, will step in to replace him. Mr Mamberti previously criticized the European Courts of Human Rights for protecting gay people.

Despite being staunchly conservative and anti-gay, he is still less extreme than Cardinal Burke, who thinks gay people are “intrinsically evil” and previously claimed: “[Homophobia is] simply announcing the truth, helping people to discriminate right from wrong in terms of their own activities.”